Tax and Social Competition for Foreign Direct Investment in Central European Industry
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Publish date: 2005-10-31
Gospodarka Narodowa 2005;203(10):53–75
The article presents the results of measurements of the competitive advantages of four Central European countries in attracting foreign direct investment to industry prior to European Union accession. Central Europe, which used various tax and social incentives, is compared in this area with EU countries in 1998-2004. The key conclusion of the study is that foreign investors derive economic benefits from moving production to Central Europe, both thanks to more favorable corporate income tax rates and lower labor costs. Generally, the differences in tax rates tend to be less important than the overall level of tax rates in the host country. A critical role is played by differences in labor costs among countries and the overall share of labor costs in the investor’s own country. The greater the differences in pay rates and the higher the share of labor costs in the product, the more profitable it is for the investor to transfer production to Central Europe. This issue is examined with the use of a model based on six variables. The model is used to calculate the tax and social prevalence of the four Central European countries over 14 EU countries on the basis of available data. The indices show profit per 1 euro of value-added industrial production transferred from the 14 EU countries to the four Central European countries in select years of the 1998-2004 period.