nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2019‒02‒11
seventeen papers chosen by
Thomas Andrén

  1. Switching from Worldwide to Territorial Taxation: Empirical Evidence of FDI Effects By Thiess Büttner; Carolin Holzmann
  2. Employment Structure and the Rise of the Modern Tax System By Anders Jensen
  3. International Comparisons of Corporate Income Tax Rates By Congressional Budget Office
  4. Raising more public revenue in Indonesia in a growth - and equity-friendly way By Christine Lewis
  5. Financial Incentives to Work Decomposed: The Finnish Case By Mauri Kotamäki; Joonas Ollonqvist
  6. The Elasticity of Taxable Labour Income in the Netherlands By Jongen, Egbert L. W.; Stoel, Maaike
  7. Taxes, Incorporation, and Productivity By Robert J. Barro; Brian Wheaton
  8. Green fiscal reform for a just energy transition in Latin America By Jakob, Michael; Soria, Rafael; Trinidad, Carlos; Edenhofer, Ottmar; Bak, Céline; Bouille, Daniel; Buira, Daniel; Carlino, Hernan; Gutman, Veronica; Hübner, Christian; Knopf, Brigitte; Lucena, André; Santos, Luan; Scott, Andrew; Steckel, Jan Christoph; Tanaka, Kanako; Vogt-Schilb, Adrien; Yamada, Koichi
  9. Investment-Specific Technological Change, Taxation and Inequality in the U.S. By Brinca, Pedro; Duarte, João B.; Holter, Hans A.; Oliveira, João G.
  10. French Favored Redistributions Derived From Surveys: a Political Assessment of Optimal Tax Theory By Adrien Fabre
  11. How Elastic is the Demand for Tax Havens? Evidence from the US Possessions Corporations Tax Credit By Daniel G. Garrett; Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato
  12. Pareto-improving structural reforms By Gilles Saint-Paul
  13. Do Immigrants Delay Retirement and Social Security Claiming? By Mary J. Lopez; Sita Slavov
  14. "Public Debt in Southeast Europe” – Why to enable public participation? By Trenovski, Borce; Mijovic-Spasova, Tamara
  15. What's gone wrong in the design of PAYG systems? By Riccardo Magnani
  16. Health Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Survey and Register Data By Weemes Grøtting, Maja; Lillebø, Otto
  17. Corporate Tax Reform: From Income to Cash Flow Taxes By Benjamin Carton; Emilio Fernández Corugedo; Benjamin L Hunt

  1. By: Thiess Büttner; Carolin Holzmann
    Abstract: This paper explores empirically whether and how FDI is affected if multinationals’ home countries change taxation of foreign earnings by switching from worldwide to territorial taxation. Our analysis employs data for German inbound FDI based on the ultimate investing country concept. We use a quasi-experimental approach and provide counterfactuals using the synthetic-control method. Our results confirm effects of the switch from worldwide to territorial taxation on FDI but point at the importance of the actual tax rate. For Japan, which charges a higher tax rate on corporate profits than Germany, we find a substantial increase of FDI in Germany after the switch from worldwide to territorial taxation. For the UK, which imposes a lower tax rate than Germany, the switch to territorial taxation is not found to exert any significant effects on investment in Germany.
    Keywords: FDI, double taxation, dividend exemption, tax competition, synthetic-control method, ultimate investor country
    JEL: H25 F23
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Anders Jensen
    Abstract: This paper studies how the transition from self-employment to employee-jobs over the long run of development explains growth in income tax capacity. I construct a new database which covers 100 household surveys across countries at different income levels and 140 years of historical data within the US (1870-2010). Using these data, I first establish four new stylized facts: 1) within country, the share of employees increases over the income distribution, and increases at all levels of income as a country develops; 2) the income tax exemption threshold moves down the income distribution as a country develops, tracking employee growth; 3) the employee share above the tax exemption threshold is maximized and remains constantly high; 4) movements in the tax exemption threshold account for the observed variation in tax collection across development. These findings are consistent with a model where a high employee share is a necessary condition for effective taxation and where the rise in income covered by information trails through increases in employee shares drives expansion of the income tax base. To provide a causal estimate of the impact of employee share on the exemption threshold, I study a state-led US development program implemented in the 1950s-60s which shifted up the level of employee share. The identification strategy exploits within-state changes in court-litigation status which generates quasi-experimental variation in the effective implementation date of the program. I find that the exogenous increase in employee share is associated with an expansion of the state income tax base and an increase in state income tax revenue.
    JEL: D31 H11 H21 H24 H26 H71 O15 O22
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Congressional Budget Office
    Abstract: In this report, CBO examines corporate tax rates—the statutory rates, as well as average and effective marginal rates—and the factors that affect them for the United States and other G20 countries. In 2012, the U.S. top statutory corporate tax rate was 39.1 percent with state taxes included, making it the highest in the G20. The average and effective corporate tax rates in the United States were lower—at 29 percent (third in the G20) and 19 percent (fourth in the G20), respectively.
    JEL: F23 H20 H25
    Date: 2017–03–08
  4. By: Christine Lewis
    Abstract: Indonesia’s government needs more revenue to fund spending that can boost GDP growth, raise well-being and reduce poverty. The tax-to-GDP ratio is low relative to other emerging market economies. The difficulty is to raise revenues without denting growth or worsening inequality. Successive reforms have modernised the tax administration and increased the number of taxpayers. Nonetheless, raising compliance is an ongoing challenge and investing in the tax administration rightly remains a government priority. There is also scope to improve the design of various taxes. Broadening the bases of income and consumption taxes would raise more revenue and reduce distortions. Expanding property taxation, if appropriately implemented, could provide additional funds for local governments. Taxes can also be used more extensively to discourage activities and behaviours with negative health and environmental externalities. Strengthening property rights and fighting illegal extraction would increase revenues from Indonesia’s natural resource wealth.This Working Paper relates to the 2018 OECD Economic Survey of Indonesia ( y-indonesia.htm).
    Keywords: business tax, consumption tax, green taxation, income tax, Indonesia, natural resources taxation, property tax, tax compliance, tax systems
    JEL: H23 H24 H25 H26
    Date: 2019–02–13
  5. By: Mauri Kotamäki (Tela); Joonas Ollonqvist (University of Turku)
    Abstract: This paper analyses financial incentives to work in Finland from three perspectives. First, the financial incentives to work are quantified i.e. the participation tax rate (PTR) levels are calculated with numerous classifications. Second, a question of how different parts of the tax and social security system affect work incentives is answered; the PTR is decomposed so that the quantitative contribution of different tax and social security components is given. Third, subgroup decomposition method is applied to explain how variation in PTR is explained by various characteristics of individuals. We found that taxation and unemployment benefits account the largest shares of the mean PTR. Another finding is that PTRs vary substantially and the benefit side and length of unemployment explain this variation quite well. However, the majority of the variation cannot be explained.
    Keywords: microsimulation, work incentives, labor supply, taxes, benefits
    JEL: H24 J22 J31 J65
    Date: 2018–10
  6. By: Jongen, Egbert L. W. (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Stoel, Maaike (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy)
    Abstract: We study the elasticity of taxable labour income in the Netherlands. We use a large and rich data set, including both financial and demographic variables, for the period 1999–2005. The 2001 tax reform generates large exogenous variation in marginal tax rates at different segments of the income distribution. For all workers, we find an elasticity of 0.10 in the short run, 1 year after the reform, rising to 0.24 in the medium to longer run, 5 years after the reform. Furthermore, we find that the elasticity is higher for higher incomes and women. Also, we find that the elasticity of taxable labour income is higher than the elasticity of (contractual) annual hours worked.
    Keywords: elasticity of taxable income, hours worked, Netherlands
    JEL: H24 H31 J22
    Date: 2019–01
  7. By: Robert J. Barro; Brian Wheaton
    Abstract: U.S. businesses can be C-corporations or pass-through entities in the forms of S-corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. C-corporate status conveys benefits from perpetual legal identity, limited liability, potential for public trading of shares, and ability to retain earnings. However, legal changes have enhanced pass-through alternatives, notably through the invention of the S-corporation in 1958, the advent of publicly-traded partnerships in the early 1980s, and the improved legal status of limited liability companies (LLCs) at the end of the 1980s. C-corporate form is typically subject to a tax wedge, which offsets the productivity benefits. We specify a theoretical framework in which firms’ productivities under C-corporate and pass-through form are distributed as bivariate log-normal. The tax wedge determines the fraction of firms that opt for C-corporate status, overall business output (productivity), the share of output generated by C-corporations, and the sensitivity of this share to the tax wedge. This framework underlies our empirical analysis of C-corporate shares of business economic activity. Long-difference regressions for 1968-2013 show that a higher tax wedge reduces the C-corporate share of net capital stocks, equity (book value), gross assets, and positive net income, as well as the corporate share of gross investment. The C-corporate shares also exhibit downward trends, likely reflecting underlying legal changes. We infer from the quantitative findings that the reduction in the tax wedge since 1968 has expanded overall business productivity by about 4%.
    JEL: E62 H20 H25 L11 L22
    Date: 2019–01
  8. By: Jakob, Michael; Soria, Rafael; Trinidad, Carlos; Edenhofer, Ottmar; Bak, Céline; Bouille, Daniel; Buira, Daniel; Carlino, Hernan; Gutman, Veronica; Hübner, Christian; Knopf, Brigitte; Lucena, André; Santos, Luan; Scott, Andrew; Steckel, Jan Christoph; Tanaka, Kanako; Vogt-Schilb, Adrien; Yamada, Koichi
    Abstract: Green fiscal reforms would contribute to climate change mitigation, increase the economic efficiency of national tax systems and provide additional public revenues. Some countries in Latin America have already taken first steps towards green fiscal reforms. This paper provides an overview of the major challenges for the successful implementation of such reforms and discusses how they could be overcome. The authors first discuss the role of country-specific economic and political enabling conditions that need to be in place for successful implementation for green successful reforms. Second, they emphasize the importance of comprehensive reform plans that include all relevant ministries and agencies and are well-aligned with other policy objectives, such as energy security and industrial development. Third, they highlight how appropriate sequencing and gradualism could lower implementation costs and hence increase the political feasibility of green fiscal reforms. Finally, the authors analyze the potential impacts of green fiscal reforms on the distribution of income and discuss transfer schemes that could avoid adverse outcomes for the poorest parts of the population. They use these four dimensions to illustrate why recent reform efforts in selected Latin American countries have been successful or have failed, respectively.
    Keywords: green fiscal reform,energy subsidies,Latin America,multi-objective climate policy,sequencing,distribution
    JEL: H23 E62 Q54 N16 Q48
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Brinca, Pedro; Duarte, João B.; Holter, Hans A.; Oliveira, João G.
    Abstract: Since 1980 the U.S. economy has experienced a large increase in income inequality. To explain this phenomenon we develop a life-cycle, overlapping generations model with uninsurable labor market risk, a detailed tax system and investment-specific technological change (ISTC). We calibrate our model to match key characteristics of the U.S. economy and study how ISTC, shifts in taxation, government debt and employment have contributed to the rise in income inequality. We find that these structural changes can account for close to one third of the observed increase in the post-tax income Gini. The main mechanisms in play are the rise in the wage premium of non-routine workers, resulting from capital-non-routine complementarity, as well as a reduction of the progressivity of the labor income tax schedule, which increases post-tax inequality. We show that ISTC alone accounts for roughly 15% of the change observed in post-tax income Gini, while the reduction in progressivity accounts for 16%.
    Keywords: Income Inequality, Taxation, Automation
    JEL: E21 H21 J31
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Adrien Fabre (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Keywords: Preferences for redistribution,Desired tax,Income tax rates,Income distribution,France
    Date: 2018–12
  11. By: Daniel G. Garrett; Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato
    Abstract: Why do some firms adopt certain tax havens and how sensitive is the demand for tax havens? We address these questions by studying how the repeal of Section 936 tax credits affected firms with affiliates in Puerto Rico. We first describe the characteristics of US multinationals that were exposed to Section 936. We then show that the market value of exposed firms decreased after losing access to Section 936, implying that firms could not perfectly substitute to other tax havens. Finally, we find that firms exposed to Section 936 did not respond by expanding their network of tax havens.
    JEL: F21 F23 H25 H26 H32
    Date: 2019–01
  12. By: Gilles Saint-Paul (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Economists recommend to partly redistribute gains to losers from a structural reform, which in many cases may be required for making the reform politically viable. However, taxation is distortionary. Then, it is unclear that compensatory transfers can support a Pareto-improving reform. This paper provides sufficient conditions for this to occur, despite tax distortions. I consider an economy where workers have sector-specific skills and some sectors are regulated by a price floor. Transfers have to be financed by proportional taxation on firms revenues or, equivalently, labor income. Labor supply is elastic to net post-tax real wages, and hence reduced by taxation. In a setting where preferences are isoelastic, deregulation is implementable in a Pareto- improving way through compensatory lump-sum transfers, despite that these are financed by distortionary taxes. In a more general setting, there always exist Pareto-improving reforms but they may involved tightening regulation for some goods. I provide sufficient conditions for deregulation, i.e. a general reduction in price floors, to be Pareto-improving. They imply that demand cross-price elasticities should not be too large and that the reform should not be too unbalanced. Finally, I consider counter-examples where some people earn rents associated with informational or institutional frictions. In such situations, Pareto improvements are unlikely. If losers have veto power, the reform may only be supported by a minority of people. Broadening reform scope is especially useful to raise its political support when its impact is uneven across consumers.
    Keywords: deregulation,price controls,Pareto optimality,rent seeking,taxation,compensatory transfers
    Date: 2018–12
  13. By: Mary J. Lopez; Sita Slavov
    Abstract: As the share of older immigrants residing in the U.S. begins to rise, it is important to understand how immigrants’ retirement behavior and security compare to that of natives. This question has implications for the impact of immigration on government finances and for the retirement security of immigrants. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine how immigrants’ retirement and Social Security claiming patterns compare to those of natives. We find that immigrants are significantly less likely than natives to retire or claim Social Security in their early 60s. We do not find heterogeneous effects by ethnicity or age of arrival to the U.S. We also find no evidence that immigrants exit the survey at higher rates than U.S. natives in their late 50s through 60s, a finding that is consistent with immigrants retiring in the U.S. rather than abroad.
    JEL: D14 H55 J15 J26
    Date: 2019–01
  14. By: Trenovski, Borce; Mijovic-Spasova, Tamara
    Abstract: The objective of the study is to analyze various policies, regulation and legislation regarding public debt and processes of the situation in the public finance field, to recognize key problems, propose solutions and advocate for change, with a special focus on monitoring of public finance. Often debt does not serve the needs of the citizens and puts limitations on democracy in a sense that does not imply involvement of citizens and NGOs in the process of decision making in the area of public finances and at the same time is characterized by a low level of transparency. Hence, the study will identify problems in implementation of the existing legislation or identify lack of necessary legislation. This will be the basis for proposing policy recommendations regarding monitoring of public finance for the covered countries and advocating for them. The study analyzes the recent debt trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia with the aim of warning about possible problems with long-term debt sustainability. It is very important to detect debt vulnerabilities and to react in a timely manner.
    Keywords: public finances, Balkan countries, public finance management
    JEL: H3 H5 H6
    Date: 2018–06–01
  15. By: Riccardo Magnani (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In order to face the population ageing problem, most countries with PAYG systems introduced pension reforms during the last twenty years. However, in many cases these reforms are considered as insufficient to guarantee the pension sustainability; in other cases, the pension sustainability is achieved through the introduction of drastic reforms and, thus, at the expense of a dramatic reduction in the well-being of current and future generations. The objective of this article is to show that the non-sustainability of PAYG systems and, consequently, the necessity to introduce drastic pension reforms, is explained by the fact that in countries with PAYG systems pensions have not been computed according to appropriate rules. In particular, we show that the sustainability of the pension system is guaranteed if (i) pension benefits are computed using actuarial principles, (ii) the implicit rate of return on contributions is the same for each retiree and equal to the average wage bill growth rate, and (iii) pension reserves are remunerated at a risk-free interest rate equal to the average wage bill growth rate. These conditions allow a PAYG system to face any demographic shock, such as an increase in life expectancy and a transitory increase in fertility rates (baby boom) followed by a transitory reduction in fertility rates (baby boost).
    Keywords: Pension economics,Pension finance,Population ageing
    Date: 2018–12–28
  16. By: Weemes Grøtting, Maja (Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University); Lillebø, Otto (University of Bergen, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Using a local randomized experiment that arises from the statutory retirement age in Norway, we study the effect of retirement on health across gender and socioeconomic status. We apply data from administrative registers covering the entire population and from survey data of a random sample to investigate the effects of retirement on acute hospital admissions, mortality, and a composite physical health score. Our results show that retirement has a positive effect on physical health, especially for individuals with low socioeconomic status. We find no retirement effects on acute hospitalizations or mortality in general. However, our results suggest that retirement leads to reduced likelihood of hospitalizations for individuals with low socioeconomic status. Finally, we show that the positive health effects are driven by reduced pain and reduced health limitations in conducting daily activities. Our findings highlight heterogeneity in the health effects across socioeconomic status and across subjective and objective measures of health.
    Keywords: Retirement; Health; Socioeconomic Status; Gender; Regression Discontinuity Design
    JEL: H75 I14 I18 J26
    Date: 2017–04–07
  17. By: Benjamin Carton; Emilio Fernández Corugedo; Benjamin L Hunt
    Abstract: This paper uses a multi-region, forward-looking, DSGE model to estimate the macroeconomic impact of a tax reform that replaces a corporate income tax (CIT) with a destination-based cash-flow tax (DBCFT). Two key channels are at play. The first channel is the shift from an income tax to a cash-flow tax. This channel induces the corporate sector to invest more, boosting long-run potential output, GDP and consumption, but crowding out consumption in the short run as households save to build up the capital stock. The second channel is the shift from a taxable base that comprises domestic and foreign revenues, to one where only domestic revenues enter. This leads to an appreciation of the currency to offset the competitiveness boost afforded by the tax and maintain domestic investment-saving equilibrium. The paper demonstrates that spillover effects from the tax reform are positive in the long run as other countries’ exports benefit from additional investment in the country undertaking the reform and other countries’ domestic demand benefits from improved terms of trade. The paper also shows that there are substantial benefits when all countries undertake the reform. Finally, the paper demonstrates that in the presence of financial frictions, corporate debt declines under the tax reform as firms are no longer able to deduct interest expenses from their profits. In this case, the tax shifting results in an increase in the corporate risk premia, a near-term decline in output, and a smaller long-run increase in GDP.
    Date: 2019–01–16

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