Tax Policy Center | Urban Institute and Brookings Institution

International Competitiveness

Who Competes against Whom and for What?

Eric Toder

Published: January 10, 2012
 PDF |  Printer-Friendly Version

Share:  Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Yahoo Buzz Share on Digg Share on Reddit

Political leaders and commentators frequently claim that the policies they favor will make the United States more competitive, without defining what competiveness between countries means. This paper defines competitiveness as a contest between nations for scarce and mobile resources and explores how different tax policies may help or hinder efforts to attract high-skilled labor, capital investment, and headquarters of multinational corporations. While these inputs contribute to living standards, elevating competition for them into a final goal of policy instead of a consideration that must be weighed against costs of tax policies that attract them could lead to seriously flawed policies.

© Copyright Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2010. All rights reserved.