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Down the Rabbit Hole: The Madness of State Film Incentives as a 'Solution' to Runaway Production

Adrian H. McDonald

Houston College of Law

November 23, 2011

University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law

This article is a "sequel" to my first law review article on runaway productions called "Through the Looking Glass": Runaway Productions and "Hollywood Economics," published in The University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law in August 2007.

Since 2007, there has been a race to the bottom as virtually every state has enacted significant, if not detrimentally generous, tax incentives to lure film and television production. The efficacy of these incentives is evaluated at length, with particular attention paid to the origin and implementation of tax incentives in California, Massachusetts and Louisiana - states with colorful backgrounds on this issue. The paper suggests that the current "solution" to the runaway production problem (competing state incentives) is counter-productive to the point of becoming the problem and calls for the enactment of a single national tax incentive for the entire nation to better compete with foreign production locales like Canada.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 81

Keywords: runaway production, hollywood, motion picture industry, tax incentives, production incentives, film, film policy, tax credits, production

JEL Classification: A12, A13, A14, B40, D11, D12, D21, D23, D31, D40

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Date posted: October 27, 2009 ; Last revised: December 21, 2011

Suggested Citation

McDonald, Adrian H., Down the Rabbit Hole: The Madness of State Film Incentives as a 'Solution' to Runaway Production (November 23, 2011). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495091

Contact Information

Adrian H. McDonald (Contact Author)
Houston College of Law ( email )
1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
832-573-1800 (Phone)
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