Fed Interview with Jim Poterba

Poterba on interesting questions in macroeconomics today:

There are just so many exciting topics in macro today. Why are global interest rates so low? What is happening in the eurozone? How do we think about long-term fiscal policy and sustainability in the United States? Why is growth in the U.S. economy slower than it has been? How does recent work on long-term inequality and the relationship between rates of return and growth rates connect to the changing distribution of resources in the United States? I hope I succeeded at least a bit in conveying some of my excitement about these questions.

Poterba on the future of public finance

I tell incoming graduate students that in the field of public economics, the questions we confront are always fresh because economies go through periods of evolving policy mix, but our underlying analytical tools are remarkably stable. When public finance economists talk about the optimal design of a tax system, it is worth remembering that Adam Smith offered four maxims for a good tax system. One of them is that the tax system should impose the smallest possible burden beyond the revenue that is collected from the taxpayer. It’s a very simple statement that the optimal tax code should minimize deadweight burden, and it remains a guiding principle that animates research to this day. The underlying trade-offs in public economics, between equity and efficiency and between raising revenue and creating distortions, have been with us a long time, and they are likely to remain the bedrock of the field.

Full interview is here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We are hiring full time RAs at Chicago Booth

Apply here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poterba discusses High-Income Individuals on Business Taxation with Eric Zwick

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Business in the United States: Who Owns it and How Much Tax Do They Pay?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Business in the United States: Who Owns it and How Much Tax Do They Pay?

“Pass-through” businesses like partnerships and S-corporations now generate over half of U.S. business income and account for over half of the post-1980 rise in the top- 1% income share. We use administrative tax data from 2011 to identify pass-through business owners and estimate how much tax they pay. We present three findings. (1) Relative to traditional business income, pass-through business income is substantially more concentrated among high-earners. (2) Partnership ownership is opaque: 20% of the income goes to unclassifiable partners, and 15% of the income is earned in circularly owned partnerships. (3) The average federal income tax rate on U.S. pass- through business income is 19%—much lower than the average rate on traditional corporations. If pass-through activity had remained at 1980’s low level, strong but straightforward assumptions imply that the 2011 average U.S. tax rate on total U.S. business income would have been 28% rather than 24%, and tax revenue would have been at least $100 billion higher.

Full paper here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sufi on household debt, redistribution and monetary policy during the economic slump

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NBER Panel on Greek Crisis

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment