Economic Effects of State Business Taxation

May 4-5, 2017

Cambridge, MA

Rising spending demands such as Medicaid, infrastructure construction and maintenance, and retiree health care and pension costs are placing many states under budgetary pressure. At the same time, states face a number of new challenges in raising revenue from their business tax systems. E-commerce has complicated sales taxation. Increased competition among states for businesses to locate jobs within their borders has led to targeted tax incentives that have often resulted in significant revenue losses. The role of business taxes in state fiscal systems, and the design of these taxes, is attracting attention in state capitals just as corporate tax reform is drawing attention in Washington.

To advance the research base that can help to evaluate these policy issues, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) will convene a research conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday-Friday, May 4-5, 2017. The program will be organized by James Poterba (MIT and NBER) and Joshua Rauh (Stanford University and NBER). There will be no published proceedings, but the conference will be summarized in the NBER Reporter.

The conference will include eight papers highlighting recent research on the economic effects of state business taxation. Examples of subjects that might be studied in papers for this conference include, but are not limited to:

1) What are the effects of state tax policy on economic growth, and on the location of labor and capital?
2) How do budget rules affect state business taxation?
3) What are the behavioral impacts of alternative tax structures, such as gross receipts and other taxes?
4) What is the incidence of state business taxation?
5) What are the effects of tax apportionment rules on multi-state firms?
6) How do state and local business taxes and the tax incentives on entrepreneurial firms affect the creation of new firms?
7) What are the effects of targeted business tax incentives?
8) What is the impact of e-commerce on state taxation and revenues?
9) How does federal business tax policy affect state receipts and tax structures?
10) How do state business taxes interact with state personal income taxes?

Manuscripts for consideration for this meeting may be submitted at:

Submissions from scholars who are early in their careers, and from researchers who are not NBER affiliates, are encouraged. Papers that will be published by May 2017 should not be submitted. The deadline for submissions is January 16, 2017. Authors chosen to present papers will be notified by February 15, 2017. The NBER will pay the domestic travel and hotel expenses for one author per paper as well as for discussants at the conference.

Questions may be addressed to

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us