State Corporate Income Tax Incidence: The Relationship Between Tax Rates and Labor Wages
Bednarzik, Robert W
A well-developed literature exists on the general issue of corporate tax incidence, but many of those studies involve national or federal tax rates. Fewer articles are written with a focus on wages and corporate tax rates at the subnational level. While most of the literature tends to agree that there is a negative relationship between corporate tax rates and wage, those that deal with the state, provincial or local levels consistently vary in terms of the relationship’s magnitude. This study extends the research on the relationship between U.S. state corporate tax rates and labor wages into the decade beyond the Great Recession. It also registers another data point in the ongoing attempt to pin down the size of the corporate tax to wage relationship. This paper is organized into four sections. It begins with an overview of past literature on the incidence of subnational corporate taxation and the relationship between subnational corporate tax rates and wages. The study then uses a multivariate ordinary least squares regression model to examine real wage data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey coupled with tax data collected by the Tax Policy Center. The third section unpacks the results of the study which suggest a negative relationship between U.S. states’ corporate income tax rates and real annual wages. The final section offers several policy implications that may follow from the negative state corporate tax to labor wage relationship.
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