Corporate Profits, Wages, and Shared Prosperity: Interview with President Obama


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Do Dividend Tax Cuts Increase Investment and Hiring?


Here’s some of the best evidence we have on the impact of changes in dividend taxes on investment and hiring

Originally posted on owenzidar:

Abstract: Policymakers frequently propose to use capital tax reform to stimulate investment and increase labor earnings. This paper tests for such real impacts of the 2003 dividend tax cut – one of the largest reforms ever to a U.S. capital tax rate – using a quasi-experimental design and a large sample of U.S. corporate tax returns from years 1996-2008. I estimate that the tax cut caused zero change in corporate investment, with an upper bound elasticity with respect to one minus the top statutory tax rate of .08 and an upper bound effect size of .03 standard deviations. This null result is robust across specifications, samples, and investment measures. I similarly find no impact on employee compensation. The lack of detectable real effects contrasts with an immediate impact on financial payouts to shareholders. Economically, the findings challenge leading estimates of the cost-of-capital elasticity of investment, or undermine models in which…

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Evaluating Public Programs with Close Substitutes: The Case of Head Start

An interesting paper from Pat Kline and Chris Walters:

This paper empirically evaluates the cost-effectiveness of Head Start, the largest early- childhood education program in the United States. Using data from the randomized Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), we show that Head Start draws a substantial share of its participants from competing preschool programs that receive public funds. This both attenuates measured experimental impacts on test scores and reduces the program’s net social costs. A cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that accounting for the public savings associated with reduced enrollment in other subsidized preschools can reverse negative assessments of the program’s social rate of return. Estimates from a semi-parametric selection model indicate that Head Start is about as effective at raising test scores as competing preschools and that its impacts are greater on children from families unlikely to participate in the program. Efforts to expand Head Start to new populations are therefore likely to boost the program’s social rate of return, provided that the proposed technology for increasing enrollment is not too costly.

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Capital Taxation in the 21st Century

From Alan Auerbach and Kevin Hassett for their upcoming AEA talk. The session looks interesting.

Jan 03, 2015 8:00 am, Sheraton Boston, Independence Ballroom
American Economic Association

A Discussion of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century” (D3)
PresidingN. GREGORY MANKIW (Harvard University)
Capital and Wealth in the 21st Century

DAVID N. WEIL (Brown University)

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Capital Taxation in the 21st Century

ALAN J. AUERBACH (University of California-Berkeley)
KEVIN HASSETT (American Enterprise Institute)

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Yes, r>g. So what?

N. GREGORY MANKIW (Harvard University)

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About Capital in the 21st century

THOMAS PIKETTY (Paris School of Economics)
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Pareto and Piketty: The Macroeconomics of Top Income and Wealth Inequality

From Chad Jones:

Since the early 2000s, research by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and their coathors has revolutionized our understanding of income and wealth inequality. In this paper, I highlight some of the key empirical facts from this research and comment on how they relate to macroeconomics and to economic theory more generally. One of the key links between data and theory is the Pareto distribution. The paper describes simple mechanisms that give rise to Pareto distributions for income and wealth and considers the economic forces that influence top inequality over time and across countries. For example, it is in this context that the role of the famous r-g expression is best understood.

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Mr. Brownback’s solution to fill the current $200M budget hole

From NYTimes:

Most of Mr. Brownback’s solution to fill the current hole comes through transferring more than $200 million from various state funds, such as one for highway projects and another for early-childhood education programs, into the state general fund. He also ordered a 4 percent budget cut to many, though not all, state agencies. He spared things like classroom funding and Medicaid, which would have sparked a lot of controversy if they were cut.

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How Gary Becker saw the scourge of discrimination

From Kevin Murphy:

In the 1950s, few economists thought of phenomena such as racial discrimination as under their purview. That changed in 1957, when Gary S. Becker, Professor of Economics and of Sociology at the University of Chicago and at Chicago Booth before his death in 2014, published The Economics of Discrimination, a book based on his 1955 PhD thesis.

Becker’s analysis would extend the reach of economics, and completely reshape the field—and social-science research in general, but it took decades to do so. “For several years it had no visible impact on anything,” he later recalled. “Most economists did not think racial discrimination was economics, and sociologists and psychologists generally did not believe I was contributing to their fields.”

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