Elena Paltseva, Gerhard Toews, Marta Troya-Martinez, 29 June 2022

The poor formal enforcement of contracts in countries with weak institutions can deter firms from investing. This column explores how multinational firms manage their relationships with governments in response to the threat of expropriation, focusing on the oil and gas industry. The results suggest that to decrease the risk of expropriation, multinationals delay investment, production, and tax payments by more than five years in countries with weak institutions relative to those with strong institutions. This may be a second-best outcome in the absence of formal enforcement. 

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Lai Wei, 27 May 2016

Economic theory offers conflicting perspectives on the relationship between insider trading and innovation. To date, the empirical evidence is similarly inconclusive. This column exploits the staggered enforcement of inside trading laws across countries to explore the effect on patenting behaviour. The findings point to a robust positive effect of enforcement on various measures of patenting behaviour. Legal systems that protect outside investors from corporate insiders thus help to foster innovation. 

Ravi Kanbur, Lucas Ronconi, 30 March 2016

Current de jure measures of labour regulation stringency point to negative consequences of labour laws. This column presents new evidence on cross-country measurements of enforcement of labour laws from almost every country in the world. The authors argue that the consequences of labour enforcement cannot be credibly assessed using de jure measures which ignore the chance that enforcement is lower in places with stricter laws. On average, there is a negative correlation between the stringency of labour regulation and the intensity of its enforcement.

Tim Besley, Anders Jensen, Torsten Persson, 12 February 2015

The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis has highlighted the problem of tax evasion. This column examines the effect of social norms on tax compliance using the UK poll tax as a natural experiment. Comparing councils where tax evasion spiked more during the poll-tax period to those where it spiked less, there was no systematic difference before the poll-tax period. However, once the poll tax was abolished, tax evasion remained higher in the former group, suggesting that high poll-tax non-compliance created a persistent norm of non-compliance.

Jaume Ventura, Fernando Broner, 20 December 2010

This paper challenges the Washington Consensus truism that financial liberalization increases economic growth and financial stability in emerging markets. The authors of DP8171 find no evidence that financial liberalization increases growth and blame it for ramping up volatility in output and consumption levels.


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