Florian Scheuer, 19 November 2020

 

Over the past decades, many developed countries have experienced considerable increases in income and wealth inequality, led by an extraordinary concentration among the very richest swath of households. This has focused policy attention on the superrich. Various political and economic arguments for at least partially offsetting this rise in inequality have been put forward.

In this video from the UBS Center, Florian Scheuer presents ideas from a new paper that provides an overview of the tax situation the superrich currently face and evaluates various reform proposals.

Florian Scheuer has also co-authored a CEPR Discussion Paper on the subject with Joel Slemrod: DP13962 Taxation and the Superrich

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Webinar: Taxing the superrich

Tuesday Nov 03
04:00 PM - 05:00 PM (CET)

Special times call for special measures. That is why the annual UBS Center Forum for Economic Dialogue will this year take place online. The four-part event series focuses on different aspects of inequality – a topic that has become even more important in light of the global pandemic and its devastating consequences, which has hit many of the most vulnerable people in the world particularly hard.

In the sessions, experts from different fields will analyze the determinants and implications of economic and social inequalities and discuss possible solutions on how to address these issues. The event series started with an interdisciplinary research slam on the topic of inequality and prosperity, in which seven researchers gave an insight into current findings from their research areas in short presentations. Last week, behavioral economist Janet Currie, globalization and labor markets expert David Dorn, and inequality expert Branko Milanovic discussed the facts and consequences of inequality.

In the upcoming webinar on November 3, Florian Scheuer will give an outline of his research on the taxation of the superrich:

Over the past decades, many developed countries have experienced considerable increases in income and wealth inequality, led by an extraordinary concentration among the very richest swath of households. This has focused policy attention on the superrich. Various political and economic arguments for at least partially offsetting this rise in inequality have been put forward. In particular, politicians have called for increasing the tax burden on rich households, in the form of both higher top rates for existing income taxes as well as new tax levies targeting the superrich. Most prominently, the idea of introducing an annual wealth tax has recently gained attention in the United States.

The webinar is based on a new UBS Center Public Paper by Florian Scheuer in which he provides an overview of the tax situation currently faced by the superrich and evaluates various reform proposals. He emphasizes that the incomes of the superrich are qualitatively different from others. He also discusses the pros and cons of wealth taxes versus alternative policies that achieve similar objectives. While a dozen OECD countries levied wealth taxes in the recent past, now just three retain them. Only Switzerland raises a similar fraction of revenue with its wealth tax as the recent U.S. proposals, which therefore serves as a useful example.

This session is supported by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

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