Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

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Fiscal competition
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Lower taxes for stronger economic growth

Lower taxes for stronger economic growthFor getting out of the public finance crisis it is a good thing to cut on spending. To reform the public sector is even better. But is it also necessary to increase taxes? With few others, Jean Philippe Delsol, administrator of IREF, had developed the conviction from past experience that one (...)

Incentives matter

Incentives matterQuestion: Mr. President announces that, starting in 2011, there will be a sharp increase in tax rates. What do you think individuals and businesses will do in 2010? Using basic economics, Arthur Laffer in a Wall Street Journal article dated June 6 gives us a very plausible scenario: Individuals (...)

Absurd tax on financial transactions

Absurd tax on financial transactionsA few years ago, the so-called Tobin tax, designed to hit financial operations, was called-for by anti-globalization groups such as ATTAC. Today, in Europe, some parties claiming strangely to be liberalist, including heads of State, support the introduction of this new compulsory levy. Of (...)

Fiscal scapegoats

Fiscal scapegoatsIn the recent past, many States resorted to public spending increases in order to boost their shaky economies. At present, they have to face great deficits. They believed, no doubt, that there is no need to obey to financial constraints, but the market reminded them that any debt has to be (...)

When Will the Eurozone Collapse?

When Will the Eurozone Collapse?As a long-standing critic of the concept of a single European currency, I have not rejoiced at the current problems in the eurozone that threaten the very survival of the euro. Before discussing the events surrounding the Greek debt crisis further, I must provide at least a working definition (...)

Taxation in Europe 2010

Taxation in Europe 2010IREF is presenting for the third consecutive year a unique report on taxation in Europe. You can find here expert analysis of the fiscal policy in 22 european countries, the most recent data and forecast for future developments. Summary by Professor Pierre (...)

Why the EU should think twice before granting a loan to Greece

Why the EU should think twice before granting a loan to GreeceThe disaster everyone feared for several months finally occurred yesterday – Greece’s credit rating was reduced to junk status and financial markets slumped. Moreover, Portugal’s debt has also been downgraded, Spanish stocks plunged more than four percentage points and in Italy it was difficult to (...)

Recently published official data on 2009 economic growth are showing disparities among EU countries

Recently published official data on 2009 economic growth are showing disparities among EU countriesLast week, Eurostat published the statistics on GDP growth for 2009 and it is without surprise that we read in the data a slowing down of economic growth for OECD countries. The average decrease in GDP points for EU countries is -4.2%. But this average is hiding some astonishing (...)

The tax cap about to be abandoned in France?

The tax cap about to be abandoned in France?Traditionally in France the rich are suspected to be responsible for every bad thing happening within the economy. The current crisis is no exception to the rule and many voices are heard saying that the rich should pay more taxes to redeem themselves from their sins that brought the (...)

Tea Party in the USA and its parallel in French politics

Tea Party in the USA and its parallel in French politicsIn the Boston Tea Party (Dec. 1773) local patriots dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped the containers of tea into the harbor. The British parliament had passed the Tea Act to establish officials in major American cities to collect the new tax on tea (Americans had been buying tea from Dutch (...)

Public debt: aren’t we glad to rely on speculation and financial markets!

Constant attacks on tax havens and hedge funds by some politicians and statesmen is at least inappropriate. As a matter of fact, it is thanks to “speculators” that we have learnt about the pitiful state of public finance in several states (for example in Greece). On the other hand, international (...)

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Perestroika

Nicolas Sarkozy's PerestroikaThis article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on March 18, 2010
In the wake of his party’s crushing defeat in regional elections, it’s time to take stock of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, three years on. As in the USSR between 1985 and 1991, France has of late experienced a period of (...)

Collecting the Wages of Fear

Collecting the Wages of FearThis article appeared in The Wall Street Journal on February 24, 2010
In the 20th century, we often heard the maxim, "the war is the health of the state." In the 21st, fear has become the health of the state. We are encouraged to fear all manner of things—for our finances, for our (...)

Tempting the Tipping Point

If governments continue to pile on more and more debt, when will they reach the tipping point? The Greeks appear to be close to the tipping point, and it is only a matter of time before other European countries, and eventually even the United States, begin their fiscal death spiral. The Greek (...)

Value-Added Tax: No Easy Fix for the Deficit

There is a growing call by backers of bigger government for Congress to impose a value-added tax (VAT) on top of all the other taxes Americans already pay. A VAT is similar to a national retail sales tax but is collected at every stage of business production until its entire burden ultimately (...)

The Factors and Motivations of Fiscal Stability - A Comparative Analysis of 26 Countries

There has been a rising academic debate on the sustainability of deficit spending and accumulated debt in governments across the globe. This correlates with a growing concern that excessive government deficits and accumulated debt will lead to unstable financial environments and a devalued (...)

Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

In a joint report from the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration, its authors, including AEI’s Joseph Antos, describe the United States’ fiscal outlook, asserting that the present budgetary path is unsustainable. If today’s policies, particularly those (...)

Bailing out the Banks Was Wrong, but New Tax Won’t Make It Right

The Obama administration has just proposed a new fee — otherwise known as a tax — on the country’s largest financial institutions. The tax aims to recover the difference between the bailout funds provided to these institutions a year and a half ago and the amounts ultimately returned to the (...)

Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth: Answering the Critics

Despite decades of repeated failure, President Obama and Congress continue to promote the myth that government can spend its way out of recession. Heritage Foundation economic policy expert Brian Riedl dispels the stimulus myth, lays out the evidence that government spending does not end (...)

Can Slovakia afford an increase in tax rates?

Can Slovakia afford an increase in tax rates?Recent study of the European Commission on taxation trends confirmed the position of Slovakia among the countries with the lowest tax burden in European Union. With total 29,4 % share on GDP, Slovak government imposed the second lowest taxes upon its economy in 2007. Share of direct taxes on (...)

Yearbook on Taxation 2009

Yearbook on Taxation 2009What is the current state of public finance in the EU countries? How did the various governments reacted to the crisis which developed in the second half of 2008? To what extent did it trigger a change in tax policy? IREF has asked scholars and experts from fifteen different EU countries to (...)

Yearbook on Taxation 2008

Yearbook on Taxation 2008Introduction by Pierre Garello, Director of the Research Department of IREF
We already knew what the general situation and trends are in the EU. Namely, that the EU- 27 is still the region of the world with the highest fiscal burden, that situations differ greatly among EU member states (with (...)

Les pauvres veulent plus de libertés et moins d’aides

Les individus pauvres font confiance au marché. C’est la principale conclusion qui ressort d’une récente étude de la Banque mondiale bizarrement passée sous silence par les médias français. Analyse de Nicolas Lecaussin

Taxation in Estonia

The system of taxation of corporate profits, introduced in 2000 in Estonia, is unique. Under this system the reinvested profit is not taxed, only the distributed profit is taxed. Thus, the taxation is shifted from the moment when profits are earned to the moment when profits are distributed to (...)

Fiscal decentralization in Ireland

Abstract: It has been observed that while the respective theoretical merits of fiscal centralisation and decentralisation are debatable, it is even more difficult to empirically assess the degree of centralisation that exists in the real world. In particular, there is no index of the degree of (...)

The Polish Case – fiscal decentralisation

Abstract: The idea to compare the fiscal decentralisation and trends in this respect in the European countries is a core for the IREF project. This means that the strict rules of measurement of this complex issue, as fiscal decentralisation is, should be applied to all fiscal systems. (...)

Financial Federalism in Germany: Cooperation or Competition?

Abstract: In this article, German federalism is analyzed through its implications for public spending and for public revenue. The structure of government spending and taxation has evolved in the direction of greater centralisation. This tendency reveals itself (1) in the constitutional changes (...)

The British Tax System: Opposing Trends

Abstract: This article points to the highly centralized nature of the British tax system. A first section shows how all tax law derives from Parliament, the “onlie begetter” of legally enforceable instruments. It is suggested that this system is not democratically accountable at sub-national (...)

Fiscal Decentralisation: The Swiss Case

Abstract : Switzerland provides a potential laboratory for testing various hypotheses connected with tax competition because of its extremely decentralized fiscal system. Twenty-six cantons (some of them extremely small) have retained the ultimate power of deciding tax questions, and hence not (...)

The Recentralization of the French Local Finance System

Abstract: The main characteristic of the French local tax system undoubtedly resides in a convoluted structure which impedes any progress in the development of tax competition between local authorities. On the contrary, recent legislative evolutions make obvious a trend of recentralization of (...)

Fiscal Centralization in Central Europe

After the political changes in 1989-1990 Central- and Eastern-European countries went through significant political, judicial, economic and social changes. Although the political and economic transitions have been analized intensively, not too much attention has been devoted for a long time to (...)

Fiscal decentralisation in Spain

Abstract: The arrival of the democratic State in Spain acquired its definitive form, at legal and institutional levels, when the General Courts approved the Constitution on October 31st, 1978, which was ratified on December 6th and sanctioned on December 27th. The establishment of a democratic (...)

Moving Toward a Quasifederal System: Intergovernmental Relations in Italy

Abstract: The paper illustrates the evolution of the territorial system of government in Italy. A traditionally centralized state is turning into a quasifederation. The reasons underpinning this transformation are the growing insatisfaction with the inefficiency of the central government, the (...)

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