Taxation

Piritta Sorsa, Jens Arnold, Paula Garda, 13 January 2020

Economic growth in Latin America has been persistently lower and more erratic than the emerging economies of Asia, largely due to low productivity borne out of both weak competition and a large informal economy. This column analyses the various factors that have caused these conditions to exist in several Latin American countries, and how policies to counteract them have fared. For significant progress, a detailed strategy of simplifying regulations, easing administrative burdens, encouraging market entry, and reducing trade barriers is required to formalise workers and encourage market competition.

Marius Brülhart, Jonathan Gruber, Matthias Krapf, Kurt Schmidheiny, 23 December 2019

Wealth taxes are in vogue, and academic research on the subject is picking up. Recent studies have produced widely diverging estimates of the elasticity of the wealth tax base. Some of this is due to methodological differences. This column analyses wealth taxes in Swiss cantons and shows that jurisdiction size and enforcement also play a role. When applied at the sub-national level and without third-party reporting, wealth taxes are particularly easily avoided.

Michael Mehling, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, Susanne Droege, 10 December 2019

The new European Commission is considering the introduction of a ‘carbon border tax’. This column argues that the current EU legal framework and earlier policy proposals for border carbon adjustments offer a good indication of what such a measure might look like. If certain substantive and procedural guidelines are observed, a ‘carbon border tax’ along these lines can work and pass legal muster, but some important questions remain. Without a concrete mandate in the EU emissions trading system allowance directive to elaborate a border carbon adjustment, new legislation or an amendment will be necessary. 

Marius Brülhart, 06 December 2019

Few countries tax their citizens' wealth annually, but Switzerland is one of them. Marius Brülhart tells Tim Phillips about a natural experiment in Switzerland's cantons that teaches us about how people would respond if more countries decided to tax wealth instead of income.

Margherita Borella, Mariacristina De Nardi, Fang Yang, 23 November 2019

In the US, both taxes and social security benefits depend on one’s marital status and tend to discourage the labour supply of the secondary earner. Using information on US cohorts born in 1945 and 1955, this column shows that eliminating marriage-related provisions drastically increases the participation of married women over their entire life cycle and reduces the participation of married men after age 60. If the resulting government surplus were used to lower income taxation, there would be large welfare gains for the vast majority of the population.

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