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The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States: Reply to Jentsch and Lunsford
In this reply to a comment by Jentsch and Lunsford, we show that, when focusing on the relevant impulse responses, the evidence for economic and statistically significant macroeconomic effects of tax changes in Mertens and Ravn (2013) remains present for a range of asymptotically valid inference methods.
Tax Policy Endogeneity: Evidence from R&D Tax Credits
Because policymakers may consider the state of the economy when setting taxes, endogeneity bias can arise in regression models that estimate relationships between economic variables and taxes. This paper quantifies the policy endogeneity bias and estimates the impact of R&D tax incentives on R&D expenditures at the U.S. state level. Identifying tax variation comes from changes in federal corporate tax laws that heterogeneously impact state-level R&D tax incentives due to the simultaneity of state and federal corporate taxes. With this exogenous variation, my preferred estimates indicate a 1 ...
The Effect of Bank Monitoring on Loan Repayment
Monitoring is one of the main activities explaining the existence of banks, yet empirical evidence about its effect on loan outcomes is scant. Using granular loan-level information from the Italian Credit Register, we build a novel measure of bank monitoring based on banks’ requests for information on their existing borrowers and we investigate the effect of bank monitoring on loan repayment. We perform a causal analysis exploiting changes in the regional corporate tax rate as a source of exogenous variation in bank monitoring. Our identification strategy is supported by a theoretical model ...
The Role of Transfer Prices in Profit-Shifting by U.S. Multinational Firms : Evidence from the 2004 Homeland Investment Act
Using unique transaction-level microdata, this paper documents profit-shifting behavior by U.S. multinational firms via the strategic transfer pricing of intra-firm trade. A simple model reveals how differences in tax rates, both the corporate tax rates across countries and the dividend repatriation tax rate over time, affect the worldwide profit-maximizing transfer-prices set by firms for intra-firm exports and imports. I test the predictions of the model in the context of the 2004 Homeland Investment Act (HIA), a one-time tax repatriation holiday which generated a discreet change in the ...
Corporate income tax, legal form of organization, and employment
We adopt a dynamic stochastic occupational choice model with heterogeneous agents and evaluate the impact of a potential reduction in the corporate income tax on employment. We show that a reduction in corporate income tax leads to moderate job creation. In the extreme case, the elimination of the corporate income tax would reduce the non-employed population by 5.4 percent. In the model, a reduction in the corporate income tax creates jobs through two channels, one from new entry firms and one from existing firms changing their form of legal organization. In particular, the latter accounts ...
The Welfare Costs of Misaligned Incentives: Energy Inefficiency and the Principal-Agent Problem
In many settings, misaligned incentives and inadequate monitoring lead employees to take self-interested actions contrary to their employer's wishes, giving rise to the classic principal-agent problem. In this paper, I identify and quantify the costs of misaligned incentives in the context of an energy efficiency appliance replacement program. I show that contractors (agents) hired by the electric utility (the principal) increase their compensation by intentionally misreporting program data to deliberately authorize replacement of non-qualified refrigerators. I provide empirical estimates of ...
The Economic Effects of Trade Policy Uncertainty
We study the effects of unexpected changes in trade policy uncertainty (TPU) on the U.S. economy. We construct three measures of TPU based on newspaper coverage, firms' earnings conference calls, and aggregate data on tari rates. We document that increases in TPU reduce investment and activity using both firm-level and aggregate macroeconomic data. We interpret the empirical results through the lens of a two-country general equilibrium model with nominal rigidities and firms' export participation decisions. In the model as in the data, news and increased uncertainty about higher future ...
International Transfer Pricing and Tax Avoidance : Evidence from Linked Trade-Tax Statistics in the UK
This paper employs unique data on export transactions and corporate tax returns of UK multinational firms and finds that firms manipulate their transfer prices to shift profits to lower-taxed destinations. It uncovers three new findings on tax-motivated transfer mispricing in real goods. First, transfer mispricing increases substantially when taxation of foreign profits changes from a worldwide to a territorial approach in the UK, with multinationals shifting more profits into low-tax jurisdictions. Second, transfer mispricing increases with a firm's R&D intensity. Third, tax-motivated ...
Interjurisdictional Competition and Location Decisions of Firms
We examine the welfare properties of alternative regimes of interjurisdictional competition for heterogenous mobile firms. Firms differ not only in terms of the degree of mobility across jurisdictions but also in terms of productivity. Alternative taxation regimes represent restraints on the discretionary powers of taxation of local governments. We find that average welfare is higher under discretionary and more efficient taxation regimes (in the sense of minimizing deadweight losses from distortionary taxation) when firms are highly mobile. In this situation, further limiting competition by ...
Global tax policy and the synchronization of business cycles
Using a 30-year panel of quarterly GDP ?uctuations from of a broad set of countries, we demonstrate that the signing of a bilateral tax treaty increases the comovement of treaty partners' business cycles by 1/2 a standard deviation. This e?ect of ?scal policy is as large as the e?ect of trade linkages on comovement, and stronger than the e?ects of several other common ?nancial and investment linkages. We also show that bilateral tax treaties increase comovement in shocks to nations? GDP trends, demonstrating the permanent e?ects of coordination on ?scal policy rules. We estimate trend and ...