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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



UNC Kenan-Flagler’s John Gallemore and co-authors found that, among other things, the complexity of the U.S. tax system has a disproportionately negative effect on small, domestic-owned and private firms.

We investigate claims that the complexity of the tax system discourages entrepreneurship. We use the implementation of tax filing assistance centers, which help entrepreneurs file their taxes, as sources of plausibly exogenous variation in the tax complexity effectively facing potential entrepreneurs.

Using firm-level administrative tax data, we document dramatic reductions in private leverage since the Global Financial Crisis, while leverage among public firms rose during this period. Our findings suggest that banks' credit supply plays a prominent role in explaining the leverage pattern of private firms.

UNC Tax Center Research Director Jeff Hoopes discusses how the tax system figures into the debt ceiling standoff and why we probably won’t see any dramatic increases in taxes anytime soon.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Energy Center Director Stephen Arbogast discusses the power of carbon taxes to accomplish several goals for energy producers and consumers alike.

Soda taxes are an increasingly popular policy tool, used to discourage purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages. This study analyzes how marketing conduct and its effectiveness might change after soda tax introductions. Prior studies on the effect of soda taxes focus on price increases but neglect other, managerially relevant marketing conduct tools, such as promotional frequency, promotional discount depth, and feature promotion frequency. This study documents how the marketing conduct and its effectiveness changed with the introduction of the tax across more than 200 retail stores in five markets.

This paper studies how corporate tax cuts in developed countries affect economies in the developing world. We focus on one of the most prominent fiscal policies – the corporate income tax regime – and study a major U.K. tax cut as an exogenous shock to foreign investment in Africa.

Using United States tax return data containing the universe of individual taxable stock sales from 2008 to 2009, we examine which individuals increased their sale of stocks following episodes of market tumult. We find that the increase was disproportionately concentrated among investors in the top 1% and top 0.1% of the overall income distribution, retired individuals and individuals at the very top of the dividend income distribution. Our estimates suggest that, following the day when Lehman Brothers collapsed, taxpayers in the top 0.1% sold $1.7 billion more in stocks than individuals in the bottom 75%. This difference is equal to 89% of average daily sales by taxpayers in the top 0.1%.

The Biden administration is proposing significant increases in corporate taxes to finance investments in infrastructure and other priorities. Proposed reforms include a global minimum tax on book income and other changes intended to limit the ability of US multinational companies to reduce US tax by shifting investments and reported profits to low-tax foreign countries. In order to promote a competitive global landscape, the administration is concurrently working with the OECD to recommend its members adopt similar changes.

Join us on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, from 1-2:40 p.m EST for Federal Tax Policy: International Outlook. This webinar, which provides 2.0 CPE credits, is the third in a series of tax policy webcasts jointly hosted by the Kenan Institute-affiliated UNC Tax Center and the AICPA.

Diverse Teams
Mar 30, 2021

Tax Boycotts

To what extent do consumers boycott in response to corporate tax activities? Anecdotes suggest potential consumer backlash is a meaningful deterrent to corporate tax planning, and the tax literature has developed expectations that these boycotts happen. But empirical evidence on their existence and impact is limited. We undertake a comprehensive study to examine how consumers’ purchase behavior relates to corporate tax activities, triangulating across several designs, samples, and measures.

We evaluate the impacts of tax policy on asset returns using the U.S. municipal bond market. In theory, tax-induced ownership segmentation limits risk sharing, creating downward-sloping regions of the aggregate demand curve for the asset. In the data, cross-state variation in tax privilege policies predicts differences in in-state ownership of local municipal bonds; the policies create incentives for concentrated local ownership.