Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom


Jacob Arfwedson

Articles by this author (32) :

A market for education: IREF study looks at the Swedish experience

A market for education: IREF study looks at the Swedish experienceThe Swedish education market is one of the freest of the world. As such, it is one of the most interesting to study. Authored by Jacob Arfwedson, the IREF report “Vouchers and Free Schools: the Swedish Experience” provides striking insights into the dynamics of a budding free market in (...)

Sweden: human development index higher in places with more immigrants

Sweden: human development index higher in places with more immigrantsCommentators often tend to link immigration to social problems and high unemployment. But as shown by the Swedish Reform Institute in a comprehensive study published in January 2013, this is not the case, on the contrary.

IKEA: low-cost, high-end and big bucks

IKEA: low-cost, high-end and big bucksBy Jacob Arfwedson
For global capitalism to reach optimal eclosion, there are several basic conditions:
> free trade: companies are allowed to sell wherever they sense a profitable opportunity;
> the tech revolution: production may take place anywhere, whereas selling may be done thousands (...)

Google vs. French taxes

Google vs. French taxesBy Alexandre Diehl, Lawyer and IREF research Fellow
For the past few weeks, and as Google has announced “bad” results on the financial markets, the media are gurgling with strange and technical news on a possible tax audit for the company. What is going on? Has Google broken the law, or are the (...)

Public finances and banking regulation: where is Europe heading?

Public finances and banking regulation: where is Europe heading?IREF has asked its scientific director, prof. Enrico Colombatto (Turin) to provide a periodic update on EU regulations. Policies adopted by Brussels in 2012 did not help to surmount the crisis: what will happen in 2013?

Five reasons to abandon the French social dialogue

Five reasons to abandon the French social dialogueBy Nicolas Lecaussin
In France the national economy and the fate of thousands of employees are regularly linked to the grand “social conference”. Successive presidents have paid tribute to the ritual of “social dialogue”. Nicolas Sarkozy did so several times during his presidency with well-known (...)

IREF wins capital victory in French Constitutional Council

IREF wins capital victory in French Constitutional CouncilA petition was submitted by French MPs to the Constitutional Council regarding the limitation on the wealth tax and the new regulations which were to take into account "virtual" incomes.
On 28 November 2012, IREF and the French Taxpayers Association addressed an argumentary (see attachment in (...)

Season’s Greetings

Season's GreetingsCelebrating that the end of the world has been temporarily postponed (presumably due to government planning) the IREF Paris team wishes you Happy Holidays.
In lieu of Season’s Greetings, our Swedish and German colleagues have devised Calendars, revealing both government waste and clever advice (...)

Green jobs: a myth that destroys real jobs

Green jobs: a myth that destroys real jobsBy Nicolas Lecaussin
The French government recently announced the creation of 100 000 green jobs over the next three years. The goal is of course to stem rising unemployment. However, the tangible results of creating green jobs in several countries, as well as the real costs of these jobs, (...)

4.9 billion euros

4.9 billion euros43 billion Swedish crowns . As stated by the Waste Ombudsman (Swedish Taxpayers’ Association), this is the amount erroneously paid out by the EU according to its Court of Auditors. These payments represent more than twice the amount that Swedish taxpayers send to Brussels every year.
For the (...)

IREF Yearbook on Taxation in Europe 2012

IREF Yearbook on Taxation in Europe 2012Among the many ways to understand the climate of opinion and the culture of a country, looking at its fiscal system is one of the most rewarding. Of course, tax systems almost always rhyme with complexity, each system bearing the weight of its history. But the attempts to change the system and (...)

France: is anybody there???

France: is anybody there???By Jean-Philippe Delsol
The fiscal frenzy which has seized the French socialists not only means that the economy grinds to a halt. It is attacking the very foundations of society by destroying entrepreneurship and responsibility. Taxes are raining on the people and the promised shelters (...)

Individual responsibility and social preferences for redistribution: an experimental study
By Sergio Beraldo et al

Individual responsibility and social preferences for redistribution: an experimental studyThis paper provides both a theoretical framework and an experimental test to analyze how individual responsibility affects social preferences for redistribution in settings where individuals are differentially subjected to the probability of a productivity shock. Our results confirm the (...)

Lessons from a successful think tank

Lessons from a successful think tankThe founder of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr. Madsen Pirie, visited IREF on Thursday 15 November to present his book Think Tank: The Story of the Adam Smith Institute (Biteback Publishing, 2012)
After discussing the specificity of the think tank as an independent influence on policy, and the (...)

Hollande is right about cutting public spending

Hollande is right about cutting public spendingAt his press conference on Tuesday 13 November, François Hollande declared that, “Returning to a balanced budget essentially means looking to spending cuts rather than tax increases. Are we better off with 57 per cent of GDP of public spending, whereas it was 52 per cent five years ago?” He is (...)

Germany: government waste galore

Germany: government waste galoreThe times when Germany was the symbol of fiscal probity seem far away. The German Taxpayers’ Association (BdSt) publishes each year its "Black Book" providing an overview of government waste which makes Darth Vader look like a choirboy in (...)

TPA launches petition to freeze business taxation

TPA launches petition to freeze business taxationThe Taxpayers’ Alliance has launched a petition on its website (freezebusinessrates.org) to enable taxpayers to appeal to their members of Parliament on business rates.
Corporate taxation in the United Kingdom rose by 4.6 per cent in 2011, by 5.5 per cent in 2012. Yet the coalition government (...)

Romney or France’s Anti-Republican Obsession

Romney or France's Anti-Republican ObsessionIn his book The Anti-American Obsession, philosopher Jean-François Revel exposed French fantasies and clichés on the United States and towards its President. It is customary in France to poke fun at US Presidents, treating them like morons who have gotten elected head of state in some miraculous (...)

EU Energy Policy: Time to Reform

EU Energy Policy: Time to ReformEnergy policies are the object of fierce debates due to their important and multidimensional effects. It is in fact one of the major realms of action of the European Union. One of the main goals of current EU policy is known as the three 20s: a 20 per cent hike in energy efficiency, a 20 per (...)

Taxpayers Alliance against union subsidies

Taxpayers Alliance against union subsidiesOur colleagues at the TPA have campaigned successfully against union subsidies. This means that the number of civil servants working for the unions at the taxpayers’ expense will now be reduced sharply. Currently, 0.26 per cent of the payroll in the Civil Service is spent on union (...)

Taxes are the largest expense for Swedes

Taxes are the largest expense for SwedesSwedbank has calculated what Swedes already knew: taxes are by far the largest budget item for any household. An individual earning SEK 25,000 per month pays SEK 17,500 in taxes (of which SEK 6,100 to the municipality, SEK 4,300 in pension dues, SEK 3,380 to the health care authority and SEK (...)

The German taxpayers’ association demands a rebate

The German taxpayers' association demands a rebateAs tax revenues are flooding into the Treasury, the German taxpayers’ association (BdSt) has asked the federal government to axe the "stealth" tax increases and to cut spending further. Current estimates show that tax revenues will be substantially higher than previously thought: a record 600 (...)

French budget 2013: IREF moves to appeal to the Constitutional Council

French budget 2013: IREF moves to appeal to the Constitutional CouncilIREF has examined the provisions of the French government’s 2013 budget proposal, and concludes that these are confiscatory and arbitrary. Henceforth taxpayers will be subject to taxation on revenues of which they do not dispose, and forced to pay taxes that are above the corresponding incomes. (...)

The greatest achievement of French statism: high unemployment

The greatest achievement of French statism: high unemploymentBy Nicolas Lecaussin
Can you imagine that unemployment has been “priority number one” for French politicians over the past 35 years! Left, right and center have all claimed that their first objective was to reduce unemployment, in particular among young people. Yet they have failed every time. (...)

The French 2013 budget: fiscal iniquity and inefficiency

The French 2013 budget: fiscal iniquity and inefficiencyJean-Philippe Delsol
Tax lawyer, deputy director of IREF
The government’s goal of reducing the budgetary deficit to 3 per cent of GDP is commendable, even though such a deficit will inevitably increase the French public debt as growth will be low or even close to zero. However, the tools (...)

The same euro mistake under a different name

The same euro mistake under a different nameDespite being bombed by information, it seems we have forgotten the roots of the debt crisis. Instead we play a martingale game, where the only precaution after losing a round is to double the bet for the next one. The solution is not called EFSM, EFSF, ESM, SMP, OMT or banking union. These are (...)

Sweden to slash corporate income tax

Sweden to slash corporate income taxAn old American joke has it that hell is where the Swedes are in charge of entertainment. But the last laugh in fiscal policy matters in Europe will probably go to Swedish legislators as they vote for implementing a reduction of corporate income taxes (...)

Warning: Last Exit to Belgium

Warning: Last Exit to BelgiumThe hyped rhetoric following the future Belgian exile of LVMH owner Bernard Arnault is no surprise to anyone well-versed in the French psyche.

The Single Income Tax

The Single Income TaxThe Taxpayers’ Alliance has published a summary of its final report, proposing a Single Income Tax to tax streams of income once. As stated by Allister Heath, Chairman of the TPA Tax Commission, "the old order is broken and needs radical reform. But we are also realists: our proposals, while (...)

A Plan for Sound Money

A Plan for Sound MoneyIn response to the financial crisis in the euro zone, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) has worked out and submitted to public institutions a plan which would help countries potentially exiting the euro zone to build stable and sound money. LFMI‘s proposal can be also used by the euro (...)

EU road safety regulations - high costs and few benefits

EU road safety regulations - high costs and few benefitsNew regulations from Brussels for periodical technical inspection (PTI) of automobiles will cost Slovakia’s drivers some 30 million euro, with questionable benefits says Radovan Durana, IREF correspondent in Slovakia (INESS).

What the Rich are Good For

What the Rich are Good ForAdvocates of redistribution often reckon that soaking the rich would eliminate poverty. Consider the following: the 10 largest fortunes in France amount to 14 per cent of GDP, or 272 billion euros. If we imagine a one-off redistribution of this wealth to the 8.2 officially poor, the sum awarded (...)

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