Using data on U.S. patents filed between 1976 and 2010, we quantify how sensitive migration by star scientists is to changes in personal and business tax differentials across states. We uncover large, stable, and precisely estimated effects of personal and corporate taxes on star scientists’ migration patterns. The long run elasticity of mobility relative to taxes is 1.6 for personal income taxes, 2.3 for state corporate income tax and -2.6 for the investment tax credit. The effect on mobility is small in the short run, and tends to grow over time. Overall, we conclude that state taxes have significant effect of the geographical location of star scientists and possibly other highly skilled workers.
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