Pandemic and Progressivity

Working Paper No. 2021/024

Authors: Alexander D Klemm & Paolo Mauro

Based on a survey of about 2,500 US resident adults, we show that people who have experienced serious illness or job loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or who personally know someone who has, favor a temporary progressive levy or structural progressive tax reform to a greater extent than others in the sample, controlling for income, demographic characteristics, and other factors. People who reveal preferences for spending items (more on police, military, border protection; less on education, health, environment) that are associated with communitarian (rather than universalist) moral perspectives generally show weaker support for progressive reforms, but more communitarians change their views as a result of personal experience. The results are consistent with previous findings that economic upheavals can mold individuals’ views on policy matters.

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At A Cost: The Real Effects of Thin Capitalization Rules

Working Paper No. 2021/023

Authors: Ruud A. de Mooij & Li Liu

Thin capitalization rules (TCRs) aim to mitigate profit shifting by multinational corporations (MNCs) but, by raising the cost of capital for affected affiliates, can also negatively affect real investment. Exploiting unique panel data on multinational companies in 34 countries during 2006-2014, we estimate that the size of this adverse investment effect can be large, and dependent on the statutory corporate tax rate and the tightness of the safe-haven ratio. Negative investment effects are more pronounced for highly-levered firms for which TCRs are more likely to be binding.

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