nep-acc New Economics Papers
on Accounting and Auditing
Issue of 2011‒08‒29
eight papers chosen by
Alexander Harin
Modern University for the Humanities

  1. Tax Competition Between Sub-Central Governments By Hansjörg Blöchliger; José Maria Pinero Campos
  2. Nontaxable income and necessary consumption: the Rousseau’s paradox of fiscal egalitarianism By Faíña, Andres / A.; Lopez-Rodriguez, Jesus / J.; Varela, Laura / L.
  3. Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms By Christian Bauer; Ronald B Davies; Andreas Haufler
  4. Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation By Balázs Égert
  5. Restoring Fiscal Sustainability in Spain By Pierre Beynet; Andrés Fuentes; Robert Gillingham; Robert Hagemann
  6. Towards a Better Understanding of the Informal Economy By Dan Andrews; Aida Caldera Sánchez; Åsa Johansson
  7. Information Disclosure Strategies for Green Industries By Anbumozhi, Venkatachalam; Chotichanathawewong, Qwanruedee; Murugesh, Thirumalainambi
  8. When Numbers Don't Add Up: The Statistical Discrepancy in GDP Accounts By Dean Baker

  1. By: Hansjörg Blöchliger; José Maria Pinero Campos
    Abstract: Sub-central tax competition is the strategic interaction of tax policy between jurisdictions with the objective to attract and retain mobile tax bases. The views on tax competition differ widely: while some consider that tax competition brings sub-central fiscal policy closer to citizen?s preferences, increases the efficiency of the public sector and avoids tax and spending excesses, others argue that tax competition leads to a distorted tax structure, to growing tax rate disparities and to an under-provision of public services. The main conclusions of the paper are: tax competition is stronger on mobile taxes (corporate and personal income tax) than on immobile taxes (property tax, consumption taxes); tax rates tend to be lower in wealthier jurisdictions; there is little evidence of a “race to the bottom” with respect to tax rates and tax revenues; and inter-jurisdictional differences in tax raising capacity – or economic wealth – appear to be lower in countries with more tax competition. Governments considering tax competition “excessive” may introduce or amend fiscal equalisation; increase sub-central property taxation and reduce other sub-central taxes; or harmonise the tax bases of sub-central governments to some extent.<P>Concurrence fiscale entre administrations infranationales<BR>La concurrence fiscale entre administrations infranationales désigne l?utilisation stratégique de la politique fiscale dans le but d?attirer et de conserver les bases d?imposition mobiles. La concurrence fiscale suscite des avis partagés : certains considèrent qu?elle permet de rapprocher la politique budgétaire des administrations infranationales des attentes des citoyens, accroît l?efficience du secteur public et évite les excès en matière de prélèvements fiscaux et de dépenses, tandis que d?autres estiment qu?elle fausse la structure d?imposition, entraîne des disparités croissantes de taux d?imposition et pénalise l?offre de services publics. Les principales conclusions de ce document sont les suivantes : la concurrence fiscale est plus forte pour les bases d?imposition mobiles (impôt sur les bénéfices des sociétés et impôt sur le revenu des personnes physiques) que pour les bases immobiles (impôts fonciers, impôts sur la consommation) ; les taux d?imposition sont généralement inférieurs dans les juridictions plus riches ; il n?y a guère de signes de « nivellement par le bas » en matière de taux d?imposition et de recettes fiscales ; les différences en termes de capacités de recouvrement de l?impôt entre juridictions – ou richesse économique – sont moins marquées dans les pays où la concurrence fiscale est plus vive. Les pays qui jugent que la concurrence fiscale est « excessive » peuvent mettre en place un mécanisme de péréquation budgétaire ou, s?il existe déjà, en revoir les modalités ; alourdir la fiscalité immobilière et réduire d?autres impôts prélevés par les administrations infranationales ; ou procéder à une certaine harmonisation des bases d?imposition des administrations infranationales.
    Keywords: fiscal federalism, tax competition, tax autonomy, sub-national tax policy, sub-central government, fédéralisme budgétaire, Concurrence fiscale, autonomie fiscale, politique fiscale infranationale, administration infranationale
    JEL: H21 H71 H77
    Date: 2011–05–31
  2. By: Faíña, Andres / A.; Lopez-Rodriguez, Jesus / J.; Varela, Laura / L.
    Abstract: The traditional concept of a strict minimum of necessary consumption and nontaxable income equal for all taxpayers embedded in most current income-tax systems is the result of a paradox of fiscal egalitarianism. The paper shows that substituting the traditional notion of a strict minimum of nontaxable income (Surplus Income Tax Method) for a scheme of growing personal allowances to meet the amounts of necessary consumption required by the different living standards of the taxpayers (Discretionary Income Tax Method) generates an income-tax scheme more progressive than the traditional one. In the paper we also show that this alternative proposal for nontaxable incomes generates an after-tax income distribution less unequal (Lorenz dominance) and superior in terms of social welfare (Atkinson, 1970).
    Keywords: nontaxable income, necessary consumption, progressivity, tax burden, income distribution
    JEL: D63 D31 H24
    Date: 2011–08–11
  3. By: Christian Bauer (University of Munich); Ronald B Davies (University College Dublin); Andreas Haufler (University of Munich)
    Abstract: We study the optimal combination of corporate tax rate and tax base in a model of a small open economy with heterogeneous firms. We show that it is optimal for the small country's government to effectively subsidize capital inputs by granting a tax allowance in excess of the true costs of capital. Economic integration reduces the optimal capital subsidy and drives low-productivity firms from the small country's home market, replacing them with high-productivity exporters from abroad. This endogenous policy response creates a selection effect that increases the average productivity of home firms when trade barriers fall, in addition to the well-known direct effects.
    Keywords: corporate tax reform, trade liberalization, firm heterogeneity
    Date: 2011–08–23
  4. By: Balázs Égert
    Abstract: France has a track record of persistent general government deficits, partly reflecting pro-cyclical fiscal policies in upswings. This has resulted in a quadrupling of its public debt-to-GDP ratio since the 1970s to above 80% of GDP. Reducing public debt is crucial because a high level of public debt may hamper long-term growth and may have a direct impact on fiscal sustainability if long-term interest rates rise. Bringing back public debt to 60% of GDP even by 2030 would require a fiscal effort of 4 to 5 percentage points of GDP (under the assumption of unchanged long-term rates), implying permanent primary general government surpluses, which is very ambitious in view of French fiscal history since 1970. The government?s consolidation programme, which is aimed at reducing the general government deficit to 3% of GDP by 2013, represents around two-thirds of this effort. This study analyses how fiscal governance could be improved by the creation of a structural deficit rule and looks at ways the public deficit could be lowered. With France already having a very large public sector, most of the effort should be borne by holding down spending. Better control of the public wage bill, increasing public-sector efficiency and tackling age-related costs are the obvious candidates to contain expenditure. On the revenue side, there is significant potential for cutting tax expenditures. Furthermore, eliminating distortions in the tax base would encourage economic growth.
    Keywords: public debt, pension system, government spending, healthcare, general government deficit, fiscal rule, structural deficit, fiscal council, tax revenues, local governments, tax expenditure
    JEL: H19 H21 H23 H24 H25 H51 H54 H55 H62 H63 H71 H72
    Date: 2011–04–21
  5. By: Pierre Beynet; Andrés Fuentes; Robert Gillingham; Robert Hagemann
    Abstract: Spain’s government has introduced ambitious consolidation measures, which should yield a sizeable improvement in discretionary fiscal efforts. Should budgetary outcomes fall short of targets, the government should stand ready to introduce further measures, as announced. Such measures could include subjecting more goods and services to the standard value added tax rate. They could also be used to fund a reduction in some social security contributions paid by employers. Once sufficient progress towards fiscal consolidation has been achieved, a further reform of the tax system towards more growth-friendly taxes should be contemplated. Spain also faces a dramatic increase in ageing-related public spending, mostly on account of pensions. The pension reform plan is welcome, but further reforms in the pension system will be necessary to contain expenditure growth. Rules on the budget balances for each level of government should be reviewed so as to induce regional governments to run larger budget surpluses when activity exceeds potential.<P>Rétablir la viabilité budgétaire en Espagne<BR>Le gouvernement espagnol a introduit des mesures d’assainissement budgétaire ambitieuses qui devraient produire une amélioration importante des efforts budgétaires discrétionnaires. Dans le cas où les objectifs budgétaires ne seraient pas atteints, les autorités devront se tenir prêtes, comme annoncé, à prendre des mesures supplémentaires, qui pourraient consister à assujettir davantage de produits et de services au taux ordinaire de la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée. Ces mesures pourraient aussi servir à financer la réduction d’une partie des cotisations patronales de sécurité sociale. Une fois la consolidation budgétaire suffisamment avancée, une nouvelle réforme du système fiscal devra être envisagée en vue de mettre davantage l’accent sur les impôts qui favorisent la croissance. L’Espagne se trouve aussi confrontée à une augmentation spectaculaire des dépenses publiques liées au vieillissement, due pour l’essentiel aux retraites. Le plan de réforme des retraites va dans le bon sens mais des réformes plus poussées du système de retraite seront nécessaires pour contenir l’accroissement des dépenses. Il conviendrait de revoir les règles relatives aux soldes budgétaires des différents niveaux d’administration afin d’inciter les autorités régionales à dégager des excédents budgétaires plus importants lorsque l’activité économique est supérieure au potentiel.
    Keywords: taxation, fiscal policy, fiscal federalism, pension reform, fiscal sustainability, Spain, discretionary fiscal effort, fiscalité, politique budgétaire, fédéralisme budgétaire, viabilité budgétaire, Espagne, effort budgétaire discrétionnaire, réforme des retraites
    JEL: H20 H21 H53 H55 H60 H77
    Date: 2011–03–18
  6. By: Dan Andrews; Aida Caldera Sánchez; Åsa Johansson
    Abstract: It is important to understand the nature and drivers of informality, as its social and economic consequences are wide-ranging. This paper critically reviews the current state of cross-country research on informality and discusses how existing data sources can be more effectively employed and extended to shed light on the link between public policies and informality. A number of interesting findings emerge. The informal economy is multi-faceted and a wide range of definitions and measures are required to capture its diverse activities. However, most existing – and widely used – cross-country estimates of informality suffer from large measurement problems, which reduce the reliability of existing empirical evidence on the extent and drivers of informality. Accordingly, future research on informality should be closely linked to obtaining better data, particularly at the household and firm levels.<P>Vers une meilleure compréhension de l'économie informelle<BR>Il est important de comprendre la nature et les déterminants de l'économie informelle, tant ses conséquences sociales et économiques sont vastes. Ce document examine d’une façon critique l'état actuel de la recherche sur l'économie informelle, et examine la façon d'utiliser plus efficacement les données existantes et d'étendre les bases de données pour mieux établir un lien entre les politiques publiques et l'informalité. Quelques conclusions intéressantes se dégagent de cette étude. L'économie informelle présente de multiples facettes et un large éventail de définitions et de mesures sont nécessaires pour saisir ses diverses formes. Cependant, la plupart des indicateurs disponibles - et largement utilisés - souffrent de problèmes de mesurabilité, qui réduisent la fiabilité des données empiriques existantes et les résultats sur l'ampleur et les déterminants de l'informalité. Ainsi, les futures recherches sur l'informalité devraient recueillir de meilleures données, en particulier sur les ménages et les entreprises.
    Keywords: property rights, informal economy, tax evasion, measurement issues, regulations, économie informelle, mesurabilité, droits de propriété, régulations, évasion fiscale
    JEL: H11 H26 J53 K0 O17
    Date: 2011–05–30
  7. By: Anbumozhi, Venkatachalam (Asian Development Bank Institute); Chotichanathawewong, Qwanruedee (Asian Development Bank Institute); Murugesh, Thirumalainambi (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Environmental information disclosure strategies, which involve corporate attempts to increase the availability of information on pollution and emissions, can become a basis for a new wave of environmental protection policy that follows and has the potential to complement traditional command and control and market-based approaches. Although a growing body of literature and operational programs suggest that publicly disclosing the information can motivate improved corporate environmental performance, this phenomenon remains poorly understood. This paper reviews the economic and legitimacy theory behind information disclosure and analyses the current practice and programs adopted in industrialized and industrializing countries.
    Keywords: environmental information disclosure; toxic release inventory; government disclosure programs; materials accounting; sector facility indexing; pollution and emissions; environmental performance
    JEL: Q52 Q53 Q57 Q58
    Date: 2011–08–22
  8. By: Dean Baker
    Abstract: At the peak of both the stock and housing bubbles, there were extraordinary shifts in the statistical discrepancy between the national output and income accounts. The statistical discrepancy fell from its normal range of 0.5 – 1.0 percent of GDP to levels below -1.0 percent of GDP. The analysis in this paper suggests that this reversal was directly related to these bubbles, with the likely explanation that a portion of the capital gains from these bubbles being misclassified in national income accounts as ordinary income. If this is the case, then the drops in household saving during the bubbles and the subsequent rises following their collapse were even larger than the official data show.
    Keywords: GDP, savings rate, income accounts, capital gains
    JEL: E E2 E20 E21 H H2
    Date: 2011–08

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