Essays on the taxation of capital income
Zodrow, George R.
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation consists of three essays on the taxation of capital income. The first essay examines the effects of the interactions of home and host country tax provisions on capital investment decisions by a U.S. multinational before and after a capital-importing country switches from a conventional corporate income tax to a consumption-based business cash flow tax. The analysis considers the cases in which the U.S. deems the cash flow tax to be creditable, non-creditable or partially creditable. In addition, two methods of implementing a consumption-based business tax are considered--the R-base and the R+F-base--and the importance of the firm's choices between local debt finance and parent multinational finance is analyzed. A numerical application considers the case in which a U.S. multinational invests in Thailand. The second essay examines the incidence of a general and a classified property tax, using an n-community, two-sector, three-factor general equilibrium model in which residents are assumed to benefit from property taxation. The government distributes residential tax revenues so that a worker, a capitalist or a landlord receives benefits equal to the amount of housing tax paid, and distributes commercial property tax revenues such that either each resident receives equal benefits, or only workers receive equal benefits. Aggregate welfare depends on labor population and most of the tax burden is borne by the individuals whose resources are taxed. The third essay provides a review of the literature on the optimal taxation of capital income in a small open economy setting and of the econometric evidence that examines the effects of taxation on business location decisions. Theoretical analyses generally suggest that the optimal tax on capital income is zero, although there are some exceptions. Various explanations of why capital may not be perfectly mobile are also discussed. In the econometric review, it is argued that if the tax has a negative effect on business location measures, the small open economy assumption is to some extent a valid proposition. The essay argues that this assumption is a valid one.
Economics; Finance; Economic theory