What Did the Rising Tide Lift at the Turn of the Millennium?
Special Session: The Mirrlees Review Reforming the Tax System for the 21st Century Royal Economic Society 2008 Conference March 17th Richard Blundell (UCL and IFS): Introduction to the Review Stuart Adam (IFS): The Design of Household Taxes Steve Bond (Oxford and IFS): The Taxation of Companies Paul Johnson (IFS and Frontier): Making Change Happen http://www.ifs.org.uk/mirrleesreview Objectives of the Review
to bring together international experts in public economics, tax law, political science and tax practice to identify the characteristics of a good tax system for any open developed economy in the 21st century to assess the extent to which the UK tax system conforms to these ideals to recommend how it might realistically be reformed in that direction Inspired by the 30th anniversary of the Meade Report, The Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation (1978) Why another review now? 1. Changes in the world
Capital income and globalisation; VAT fraud and e-commerce; new objectives; technology of tax collection; institutional environment (ECJ); demographic change (ageing, lone parents); distribution of income and wealth 2. Changes in our understanding More micro-data and better methods; Political economy; Behavioural economics; Dynamic optimal taxation 3. Popular interest in rethinking tax policies The editorial team Chairman: Sir James Mirrlees (Cambridge) Tim Besley (LSE, Bank of England & IFS) Richard Blundell (IFS & UCL) Malcolm Gammie QC (One Essex Court & IFS)
James Poterba (MIT & NBER) with: Stuart Adam (IFS) Steve Bond (Oxford & IFS) Robert Chote (IFS) Paul Johnson (IFS & Frontier) Gareth Myles (Exeter & IFS) The end product A report of lasting interest and relevance to policy-makers, academics and civil society primarily in the UK but also in other countries 10 commissioned chapters on key topics written by international experts and IFS staff with expert commentaries on each
3 special studies on narrower areas Two-part final report by the editorial team Characteristics of a good tax system Reforming the UK tax system The process Work started in 2006 Conferences in September 2006 and April 2007 Commissioned chapters are now finalised Editorial chapters will be written over the next
few months Interactive process Drafts available online comments welcome! www.ifs.org.uk/mirrleesreview Publication in late 2008 by OUP Funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the ESRC 10 commissioned chapters Taxation in the UKwhere we are & how we got there Stuart Adam, James Browne and Chris Heady Commentator: Chris Evans Political economy of tax reform James Alt, Ian Preston and Luke Sibieta Commentators: Peter Riddell; Guido Tabellini; Chris Wales
Administration and compliance Jonathan Shaw, Joel Slemrod and John Whiting Commentators: John Hasseldine; Richard Highfield; Brian Mace 10 commissioned chapters The main household tax base James Banks and Peter Diamond Commentators: Robert Hall; John Kay; Pierre Pestieau Taxation of wealth and wealth transfers Robin Boadway, Emma Chamberlain and Carl Emmerson Commentators: Helmuth Cremer; Thomas Piketty; Martin Weale Taxing corporate income Alan Auerbach, Mike Devereux and Helen Simpson
Commentators: Harry Huizinga; Jack Mintz International capital taxation Rachel Griffith, James Hines and Peter Birch Srensen Commentators: Julian Alworth; Roger Gordon and Jerry Hausman 10 commissioned chapters Tax rates on labour income Mike Brewer, Emmanuel Saez and Andrew Shephard Commentators: Hilary Hoynes; Guy Laroque; Robert Moffitt Indirect taxes Ian Crawford, Michael Keen and Stephen Smith Commentators: Richard Bird; Sijbren Cnossen; Ian Dickson and David White; Jon Gruber,
Environmental taxation Don Fullerton, Andrew Leicester and Stephen Smith Commentators: Paul Johnson and Nick Stern; Agnar Sandmo 3 special studies The effect of taxes on labour supply Costas Meghir and David Phillips The effect of taxes on consumption and saving Orazio Attanasio and Matthew Wakefield Taxation of small businesses Claire Crawford and Judith Freedman
Final versions all to appear on the Mirrlees webpage at IFS within the next week or so What of the Review Recommendations? Based on lessons from new developments in theory Optimal tax Dynamic fiscal policy Behavioural economics Political economy Founded on what we have learned from empirical
analysis Labour supply Savings Taxable income Corporate investment and R&D Drawing on what we have learned from policy experience Theory, Policy and Data Interactive - theory often lags policy initiatives and
the discovery of empirical regularities; e.g. Earned income tax credits (WFTC and WTC) Policy developed in 70s and 80s. Empirics on extensive elasticity for low skill workers in 80s and 90s Optimal tax foundations developed in 2000+! But feedback in to policy improvements? Asset tests or similar conditions on eligibility to welfare benefits incapacity and disability Optimal dynamic fiscal policy in the last few years points to the potential optimality of asset tests. Optimal tax provides a logical framework Neutrality remains a central theme
Across assets Across goods Across time Across organisation form, location, . Distortions are inevitable but We know better how and where these should occur Each has to be argued strongly and needs to pass the political economy, transparency, salience and implementability test The expenditure tax ideas of the Meade Report
remain a powerful organising principle Special Session: The Mirrlees Review Reforming the Tax System for the 21st Century Stuart Adam (IFS): The Design of Household Taxes Steve Bond (Oxford & IFS): The Taxation of Companies Paul Johnson (IFS & Frontier): Making Change Happen Royal Economic Society March 17th 2008 http://www.ifs.org.uk/mirrleesreview
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