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Corporate Taxation and Productivity Catch-Up: Evidence from European firms

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  • Gemmell, Norman
  • Kneller, Richard
  • McGowan, Danny
  • Sanz, Ismael
  • Sanz-Sanz, José F.

Abstract

Firms that lie far behind the technological frontier have the most to gain from imitating the technology or management practices of others. That some firms converge relatively slowly to the productivity frontier suggests the existence of factors that cause them to underinvest in their productivity. In this paper we explore how far higher rates of corporate taxation affect firm productivity convergence by reducing the after tax returns to productivity enhancing investments for small firms. Using data for 11 European countries we find evidence for such an effect; productivity growth in small firms is slower the higher are corporate tax rates. Our results are robust to the use of instrumental variable and panel data techniques with quantitatively similar effects found from a natural experiment following the German tax reforms in 2001.

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  • Gemmell, Norman & Kneller, Richard & McGowan, Danny & Sanz, Ismael & Sanz-Sanz, José F., 2013. "Corporate Taxation and Productivity Catch-Up: Evidence from European firms," Working Paper Series 2705, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwcpf:2705
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    3. José Alves, 2018. "The impact of tax structure on investment: an empirical assessment for OECD countries," Working Papers REM 2018/58, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    4. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & Antonio José Orozco-Gallo, 2020. "Corporate taxes and firms' performance: A meta-frontier approach," Borradores de Economia 1116, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    5. Ioannis Bournakis & Sushanta Mallick & David Kernohan & Dimitris A.Tsouknidis, 2013. "Measuring Firm-Level Productivity Convergence in the UK: The Role of Taxation and R&D Investment," Working Papers 45, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    6. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    7. Heyman, Fredrik & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2015. "The Turnaround of Swedish Industry: Reforms, Firm Diversity and Job and Productivity Dynamics," Working Paper Series 1079, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Hussain, Syed M. & Malik, Samreen, 2016. "Asymmetric Effects of Exogenous Tax Changes," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 268-300.
    9. Shubin Yang & Sandra Lancheros & Chris Milner, 2021. "Technological Catch-up to the National and Regional Frontier: Firm-level Evidence for India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(8), pages 1303-1320, August.
    10. Desiderio Romero-Jordán & Ismael Sanz-Labrador & José Félix Sanz-Sanz, 2020. "Is the corporation tax a barrier to productivity growth?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 23-38, June.
    11. Nolan, Gulnara & Nolan, Matt, 2021. "Taxation, user cost of capital and investment behaviour of New Zealand firms," Working Paper Series 9461, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    12. Bofinger, Peter & Schnabel, Isabel & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; taxation; convergence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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