Property Taxes and Growth Patterns in China: Multiple Causal Inference Methods

Frontiers in Psychology 13 (2022)
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Abstract

According to neoclassical growth theory, there are two main patterns of economic growth, namely, intensive growth, which depends on total factor productivity, and extensive growth, which relies on factor input. This study explores the impacts of property taxes on growth patterns by considering the property tax pilots in Shanghai and Chongqing as a quasi-natural experiment. For evaluation, we applied multiple causal inference methods, including DID, PSM-DID, and a panel data approach for program evaluation. We found that the pilot of Shanghai contributed to intensive growth, while the pilot of Chongqing reinforced the prevailing extensive growth. Specifically, Shanghai's property taxes restricted the buying of multiple homes and oversized homes, thereby reducing house prices and increasing TFP. Chongqing's property taxes are mainly for high-end houses, causing the substitution effect between high-end homes and ordinary houses; thus, the pilot increased the prices of ordinary houses and the average house price, which stimulated factor input and economic growth but decreased TFP. This study provides empirical evidence of the causal relationships between property taxes and growth patterns, indicating that transitional economies should avoid narrow tax bases during property tax reform for intensive growth.

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