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How Effective are VAT Export Taxes? Evidence from China

  • Location
    Erasmus University, Polak Building, Room 2-14
  • Date and time

    June 19, 2019
    12:00 - 13:00


Our study shows that the relatively under-studied VAT export rebate system is a major industrial policy of the Chinese authorities to support exports. We use city-specific export-quantity data at the HS6-product level over the 2003-12 period to assess how changes in the VAT export tax have affected China’s export performance. We are particularly interested in how the impact of this policy varies across different products - and within products across different cities. For this, we investigate how the impact of the policy depends on how well connected the targeted product is to the local productive structure. Our difference-in-difference estimates exploit an eligibility rule disqualifying some export flows from the rebates. Our results suggest that a one percent rise in the VAT export tax leads to a 6.6% relative decrease in eligible export quantities. We then show that the effectiveness of this export tax policy has different magnitudes across different types of products and is magnified when it applies to products with denser links with the local productive structure. Hence export benefits from VAT export rebates are greater for cities that have the necessary capabilities and resources to carry out the activities supported by this rebate policy.