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Tax competition and inequality

Genschel, Philipp and Lierse, Hanna and Schmidtke, Henning and Seelkopf, Laura and Traub, Stefan and Yang, Hongyan (2015) Tax competition and inequality. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

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    The baseline model of international tax competition predicts that domestic income inequality will increase: in the worst case progressive taxation on capital is no longer possible and spending levels deteriorate. Given that the median voter is receiving her income mostly from labor, many observers are puzzled that corporate tax competition persists among developed democracies. Even during the economic crisis, hard-hit countries such as Ireland insisted to keep their low corporate tax rate despite pressure from other European countries and with a broad backing of the whole political spectrum. Why do left-wing parties not intervene and call for international tax harmonization if tax competition is detrimental for the poor? It is the aim of this paper to explain the driving forces of tax competition and their consequences on inequality. Specifically, we shed light on why the poor and their representatives in smaller economies have not done much against tax competition. To do so we first build a theoretical model based on asymmetric tax competition in two countries, which we then test empirically. In our model the median voter in both countries is poor; thus the left determines the domestic capital tax rate. Nevertheless, in equilibrium tax competition persists. We show that the rich and the poor of the small country can achieve a higher net income when engaging in international tax competition. This explains why tax competition is politically robust even in a model where the rich have no power over the tax rate. We test the empirical implications of our model against a sample of eight OECD countries and their tax policies over a long time frame from 1960 until today. In conclusion, we discuss the crucial implication from accepting a lower capital tax rate, namely increased domestic and international income inequality.

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    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > tax policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2015 (14th), March 4-7, 2015
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 16:14
    Number of Pages: 21
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 16:14

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