Politique budgetaire de laffer

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Service Public Fédéral FINANCES - BELGIQUE ■ BULLETIN DE DOCUMENTATION ■ 68ème année, n° 3, 3ème trimestre 2008

■ ■ ■ Politique fiscale et positionnement des Etats dans une économie globalisée

Christian VALENDUC Conseiller général des Finances, maître de Conférences à l’UCL et aux FUCAM

A B S T R A C T■


n this paper we discuss how globalisation affects tax policysetting. The is a general consensus that the removal of non tax barriers, the increase of FDI flows and other components of globalisation have resulted in increased tax competition. A distinction has however to be made between the usual form of tax competition, by which governments try to attract mobile tax bases by lowering taxes, and yardstick competition or tax mimicking. The country reviews that areconducted by international organisation and, more formally, the open coordination method in the EU give a strong impetus to governments to consider developments in other countries and (un)formal supranational guidelines when they make their decision on tax policies. Governments are more and more inclined to position themselves in an attractive way. We concentrate on how this process has affecteddirect taxes. Countries used to rely on preferential tax regimes targeted to mobile activities to position themselves, until the EU and OECD codes of conduct put an end to such a strategy that was considered as harmful tax competition. Now that those regimes have been rolled back, competition on rates has increased but this does not seem to result in revenue loss. Part of the explanation of therevenue paradox comes from base broadening and in an increase of the size of the corporate sector. These processes are not open-ended and further tax cuts might be more difficult to be financed. On the personal income tax side, flat taxes have been widely used by countries from Central and Eastern Europe to position themselves in an attractive way. Their merits seem however to be widely overstated.There is no strong case for flatness in economic theory and the optimal tax is not necessarily a flat one. Empirical evidence is scare and non-convincing, if we leave aside rhetoric and assertion. Many simulation exercises have been performed in countries from Western Europe on the move to a flat tax regime. They converge in concluding that it is not possible to overcome the efficiency-equitytrade-off. Adding the “political economy” difficulties from base broadening, we conclude that the flat tax vague will not submerge Western Europe. What might a good way to position itself for a transition economy does not necessarily hold for a welfare state. Tax mimicking has – hopefully – some limits. JEL classification: H20, H21, H24, H25 Keywords: Tax policy, Tax competition, Flat tax, Corporateincome tax, Dual income tax.


Dernière mise à jours 31 juillet 2008

Dans une économie globalisée, les Etats cherchent à se positionner. La première motivation de ce positionnement est le rôle accru de la fiscalité dans la localisation des activités économiques. La suppression des obstacles non-fiscaux aux échanges internationaux a accru le poids de la fiscalité dans la localisationdes activités économiques. Les investisseurs cherchent la meilleure localisation pour leurs activités économiques et la fiscalité en vigueur dans différentes juridictions est un des éléments de leurs décisions. Les épargnants cherchent la meilleure localisation de leurs placements ou de leur patrimoine. A une échelle moins large, les consommateurs peuvent profiter des écarts de taxes sur laconsommation pour acheter certains produits à des prix plus intéressants. Les salariés peuvent également choisir le lieu de leur activité en fonction de différences de revenus nets qui peuvent être créées par la fiscalité. Le degré de mobilité des bases taxables est cependant très différent d’un cas à l’autre : la main-d’œuvre reste globalement peu mobile, le cross-border shopping n’a pas le même...