The Taxes - Competition or Harmonisation? (2003:6)


The purpose of the report is to give an overview of economic literature on three questions: the risk of tax competition between European countries; the welfare effects of a possible tax competition; and the possibilities of correcting any such development through tax harmonisation.

The author contends that there are two points of view for those who welcome globalisation and tax competition. The first view is to deny that there is tax competition, or at least that it constitutes a serious problem. Given the current data problems it is not possible to falsify this view empirically.

The other view is to admit that tax competition exists, but that it primarily affects tax bases that according to theory should not be taxed. Tax competition thus creates economic efficiency. The price we have to pay in the form of a reduction in income equalisation is not unambiguous. If competition only affects the corporate tax, the allocation effects are not possible to predict. However, if competition also lowers capital taxes and the progressiveness of the income taxes, there is reason for concern.

The report was presented at the seminar More common decision-making in the future EU? and is a part of the research project Strategy 2004.

icon Skatterna - konkurrens eller harmonisering? (817.95 kB)