Fiscal Policy

Do Wealth Taxes Significantly Curb Wealth Inequality?

Politicians and governments in the United States and elsewhere have recently proposed or implemented wealth taxes to supplement revenue and reduce wealth inequality. In a new study, Samira Marti, Isabel Z. Martínez, and Florian Scheuer show how decreases in wealth taxes led to increases in wealth inequality in Switzerland, though they find that these decreases alone are not enough to explain the magnitude of widening disparities.

Modernizing the IRS Presents an Opportunity To Level the Economic Playing Field

Corporate America makes sport of gaming the tax authorities, especially after decades of budget cuts to the IRS. What dominant corporations make by hiring expensive tax and lobby teams to distort the rules in their favor, smaller businesses, workers, and the general public are forced to cover with higher taxes and worsened services. Competition shouldn’t hinge on who has more pull over the tax rules and how they’re enforced. Decisions made over the next year to modernize the IRS present a historic opportunity to shape a less entrenched and more competitive economy, writes Niko Lusiani.

Inflation Paranoia and the Return of the New Consensus in Macroeconomics

Economists have proposed two main theories to explain the recent spike in prices. Progressives have attributed the rise in inflation to corporate greed and have suggested price controls in response. Other economists have turned back to the New Consensus in Macroeconomics that arose in the 1970s in response to steep inflation blamed on the large Keynesian fiscal expansion of the preceding decades. Matías Vernengo writes that neither camp has correctly diagnosed the problems with current inflation. Proponents of Greedflation overlook the price stability of the last few decades even as market concentration increased. On the other hand, advocates of the New Consensus similarly forget their history and the commodity shocks and price-wage spiral that were the real culprit for inflation in the 1970s.

The Neo-Brandeisians Are Wrong About Greedflation

Some progressive politicians and advocates have argued that lax antitrust policies enabled the inflation surge that began in 2021 and that aggressive antitrust enforcement is crucial to combatting inflation. These assertions are misguided and misleading. Similar greedflation theories emerged during previous inflation spikes, but their promotion this time has proven counterproductive. The allure of trustbusting ideas, it seems, is starting to wane.

The US Has A Budgeting Problem…Not Exactly A Debt Ceiling Issue

Kurt Davis Jr. argues that the U.S. Congress should consider switching from a federal debt ceiling as a nominal value to one fixed as a percentage of GDP. This debt ceiling should, on the one hand, be high enough that the government cannot reasonably cross it, but punitive enough that it disincentivizes profligate spending. This will save the U.S. from the annual political theater that occurs around debt ceiling talks and focus the discussion on the federal budget (and potentially taking revenue and spending decisions to actually control the deficit).

Today’s Tax Code Empowers Monopolistic Corporations. It Has Been and Can Be Different

Niko Lusiani and Susan Holmberg write that the United States should tax profitable corporations not just to raise revenue and redistribute unequal...

Biden’s Second-Best Economic Agenda

Efficiency is out and political economy is in. But what does that imply about making good policy?

Are Sovereign Green Bonds Anything More than a Fad?

It has become fashionable for governments to issue “green” bonds to fund the transition to sustainability. However, sovereign green bonds as currently...

More than Economics, Ideology Determines US Voters’ Preferences for Redistribution

The US stands out among developed economies for its comparatively low level of redistribution as a percentage of GDP. Gustavo de Souza...

Latest news

Do Wealth Taxes Significantly Curb Wealth Inequality?

Politicians and governments in the United States and elsewhere have recently proposed or implemented wealth taxes to supplement revenue and reduce wealth inequality. In a new study, Samira Marti, Isabel Z. Martínez, and Florian Scheuer show how decreases in wealth taxes led to increases in wealth inequality in Switzerland, though they find that these decreases alone are not enough to explain the magnitude of widening disparities.

Merged Firms Offer Less Product Variety

In new research, Enghin Atalay, Alan Sorensen, Christopher Sullivan, and Wanjia Zhu find that mergers and acquisitions often lead to the merged firm offering less product variety than when the two firms operated pre-merger.

Revising Guideline 6 With Evidence To Establish a Structural Inference for Input Foreclosure

Vertical merger law lacks the structural presumption of horizontal merger law, which shifts the burden from the government to the merging parties to provide evidence that a merger will not produce anticompetitive effects when it is known that the merger will substantially increase market concentration. To improve Guideline 6 of the draft Merger Guidelines concerning vertical foreclosure, Steven Salop develops a three-factor criteria with which the government antitrust agencies can show an analogous structural “inference” that shifts the burden of evidence to the merging parties.

How US Antitrust Enforcement Against Xerox Promoted Innovation by Japanese Competitors

Xerox invented modern copier technology and was so successful that its brand name became a verb. In 1972, U.S. antitrust authorities charged Xerox with monopolization and eventually ordered the licensing of all its copier-related patents. As new research by Robin Mamrak shows, this antitrust intervention promoted subsequent innovation in the copier industry, but only among Japanese competitors. Nevertheless, their innovations benefited U.S. consumers.

Revising the Merger Guidelines To Return Antitrust to a Sound Economic and Legal Foundation

The draft Merger Guidelines largely replace the consumer welfare standard of the Chicago School with the lessening of competition principle found in the 1914 Clayton Act. This shift would enable the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division to utilize the full extent of modern economics to respond to rising concentration and its harmful effects, writes John Kwoka.

How Anthony Downs’s Analysis Explains Rational Voters’ Preferences for Populism

In new research, Cyril Hédoin and Alexandre Chirat use the rational-choice theory of economist Anthony Downs to explain how populism rationally arises to challenge established institutions of liberal democracy.

The Impact of Large Institutional Investors on Innovation Is Not as Positive as One Might Expect

In a new paper, Bing Guo, Dennis C. Hutschenreiter, David Pérez-Castrillo, and Anna Toldrà-Simats study how large institutional investors impact firm innovation. The authors find that large institutional investors encourage internal research and development but discourage firm acquisitions that would add patents and knowledge to their firms’ portfolios, hampering overall innovation.