The Australian Government has announced 630 new research grants under the Discovery Projects scheme for 2017, the following are awardees in tax and public policy research.

The Australian National University- Dr Alfred Tran; Professor Miranda Stewart ($391,500)

This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of measures to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises. Estimates suggest that tax base erosion and profit shifting threaten up to 10 per cent of Australia’s corporate tax revenues. This project intends to establish benchmark indicators based on financial and tax data for Australian and foreign-owned companies, and test them on proposed policy changes up to 2018. The project aims to expand knowledge of tax behaviour of multinational firms while providing timely and critical information for policy makers on whether measures actually improve the integrity of corporate tax.

Monash University- Professor Philip Grossman; Professor Lata Gangadharan; Associate Professor Erte Xiao ($388,500)

This project aims to study the motivations for charitable giving and helping behaviour and how these motivations interact with external factors under different institutions. Recent data from 2015 show that charitable donations in Australia have fallen to a 30-year low. Although real GDP has increased, inequality has risen. Social norms and perceptions relating to disadvantaged people can influence donor motivations. The anticipated goal is to design initiatives that influence prosocial activities such as charitable giving, redistribution, refugee intake and migrant integration, and improve understanding of the underlying mechanisms of prosocial behaviour.

Curtin University of Technology- Associate Professor Siobhan Austen; Associate Professor Therese Jefferson; Adjunct Professor Rhonda Sharp; Dr Astghik Mavisakalyan; Associate Professor Helen Hodgson; Professor Ross Taplin ($326,000)

This project aims to analyse processes and outcomes within older households using national, large-scale representative data and mixed methods research design. In an ageing population where households are becoming responsible for provisioning retirement needs, understanding what happens in older couple households is important. The project expects to influence policy by generating evidence relevant to the design of regulations governing the allocation of superannuation assets, tax incentives for alternative forms of retirement savings, asset and income tests on the Age Pension, and initiatives targeting older Australians’ financial literacy.

The University of Queensland- Associate Professor Andrew Phillips; Professor Jason Sharman ($159,000)

Company states and international relations theory. This project aims to investigate the role of chartered companies in European colonialism. Chartered companies, profit-driven forerunners to today’s multinational corporations, wielded extensive sovereign powers (e.g. rights to wage war, conduct diplomacy, and raise taxes) normally reserved for governments. This project intends to establish the importance of chartered companies – not sovereign states – as Europe’s pre-eminent agents of colonial expansion before c1800, and uncover how their rise and fall shaped modern understandings of the distinction between public and private authority.

For the full list of recipients see here.

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