Environmental Economics & Policies; International Terrorism & Counterterrorism; Economic Theory & Research; Banks & Banking Reform; Labor Policies; Consumption; Public Sector Economics
Summary: The author analyzes (both theoretically and empirically) the international distortions and fiscal interdependence that arise because of different tax rates among a region's countries. The author also studies what happens when the countries try to harmonize taxes, focusing on how the countries' size influences results, how strategic behavior changes under different international tax rules, and what happens to relationships with countries excluded from the integration process. Among the findings are: 1) In the case of highly mobile factors, such as financial capital, competition involves the risk of tax rates and revenues being brought down to extremely low levels, so some form of concerted agreement seems necessary, although cooperation need not involve tax rate uniformity. But regional agreements might be ineffective when factors can move to rest of the world. 2) In the case of less mobile factors, such as physical capital, competition would not yield the outcome of extremely low tax rates. Then the need for concerted international intervention is weaker. But international coordination in the form of imposing a minimum tax rate might be beneficial in some cases. 3) As for taxing foreign direct investment in developing countries, in the context of regional North-South integration agreements, it is possible that differences in the countries' objective functions eliminate the incentive for strategic reactions. In the context of South-South agreements, incentives for the integrating, capital-importing countries to compete with each other are determined by the kind of tax system chosen in the capital-exporting rest of the world. In the case of exemption, competition would drive capital income tax rates down. In the case of a credit system, competition would take place only in tariffs (or other trade taxes). What is required then is an agreement not on capital income taxes but on a common external tariff. 4) In the presence of migration costs or a link between the tax rates on mobile and immobile factors, the absence of coordination does not lead to a zero tax rate on mobile factors. Both countries welfare can be improved by imposing a minimum tax rate, but not a uniform tax rate.
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