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TAXES AND LONG-RUN ECONOMIC GROWTH: CAN TAX REFORM RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT IN DENMARK? Carl-Johan Dalgaard NORDIC TAX ECONOMIST MEETING OCTOBER 1 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "TAXES AND LONG-RUN ECONOMIC GROWTH: CAN TAX REFORM RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT IN DENMARK? Carl-Johan Dalgaard NORDIC TAX ECONOMIST MEETING OCTOBER 1 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 TAXES AND LONG-RUN ECONOMIC GROWTH: CAN TAX REFORM RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT IN DENMARK? Carl-Johan Dalgaard NORDIC TAX ECONOMIST MEETING OCTOBER

2 THREE ISSUES: WHAT IS THE MAIN ENGINE OF LONG-RUN GROWTH? HOW DOES TAXES AFFECT LONG-RUN GROWTH? THOUGHTS ON TAXES AND THE SCOPE FOR A PRODUCTIVITY ACCELERATIONS IN DENMARK

3 THREE POINTS: TOTAL FACTOR PRODUCTIVITY FIRM DYNAMICS AND TRANSFER OF IDEAS ONE FOCUS AREA: TRADE

4 WHAT IS THE MAIN ENGINE OF LONG-RUN GROWTH?

5 GDP PER WORK HOUR PHYSICAL CAPITAL HUMAN CAPITAL (Total Factor) PRODUCTIVITY Equipment; plants; natural capital Schooling; healthTechnology; Public goods Obviously: Lots and lots of interdependence

6 QUANTITATIVE IMPORTANCE: About 2/3 of economic growth within rich nations is due to (total factor) productivity 90% of the differences in growth rates (GDP per employed) across countries is due to TFP Unpacking aggregate TFP Entry/ Exit & Selection of firms. Foundation: New ideas (from abroad) Public goods provision (infrastructure; efficient bureaucracy; Public R&D)

7 HOW TAXES AFFECT LONG-RUN GROWTH

8 Potential direct impact on Total factor productivity The Dark side of taxes: Reduces transfer of ideas. Reduces foreign exposure and affects firm selection (e.g., tariffs). Limits access and exposure to new ideas. Reduces the incentive to become (self-) employed (income tax).Introduction of new ideas; new firms. Increases the costs of capital (corporate tax; cap gains tax). Introduction of new ideas embedded in capital equipment Limits firm exit (subsidies) The Lighter side of taxes: What taxes help finance. Supply of public goods (e.g., infrastructure; bureacratic efficiency; Public R&D) Insurance: Social security reduces the potential downside from being self- employed

9 ½ Theory (e.g., Barro, 1990): Non-linear impact from tax system Empirics?

10 Income; property; profits; trade Defense; health; education;transport & communication

11 In practise it appears that the net impact from tax and expenditures has been near zero in most OECD countries > (Gemmel et al, 2011) Bottom line: Composition of taxes (and expenditures) is key

12 THOUGHTS ON TAXES AND THE SCOPE FOR A PRODUCTIVITY ACCELERATIONS IN DENMARK

13 Before we get started … humility Two world wars; the demographic transition; the great depression; from agriculture to industry; mass education; stagflation; increasing female labor market participation. 2 percent per annum.

14 Hourly productivity, Denmark relative to US, Souece: Penn World Tables 7.0 Hourly productivity: EU G7/USA, (black); DEU/USA, (green). Note: (a) G7 is DEU, UK, FRA, ITA. Data: Penn World Tables 7.0.

15 Reignite the convergence process. Will admit a temporary growth acceleration. Academic literature: Temporary acceleration in growth (10 yrs av). Robust finding: TFP changes; Trade changes (i.e., Imp + Exp / GDP) International interaction does spur productivity; influences transfer of ideas and thereby entry/exit and selection One focus area: Tariff (and non-tariff) barriers on trade in goods and services

16 Suggestive evidence of link between international interaction and growth: Case of Singapore

17 Non-tariff Barriers. Francois og Hoekmann on trade restrictions on services (JEL, 2010, p. 662): …the indexes […] also point to generally higher restrictions in developing countries than in the OECD. At the same time though, some OECD countries (Australia, Canada, and Denmark, for example) have restrictions comparable to the averages prevailing in major developing country economies. (my emphasis) Tariffs. Composition of tariffs (Nunn and Trefler, 2010)

18 Bias in tariffs. Positive correlation means more protection of more skill intensive goods Source: Nunn og Trefler, 2010, Am. Ec. J. – macro. Note: Growth corrected for impact of investments and human capital. The figure depicts the partial correlation between bias in tariffs and growth.

19 CONCLUDING REMARKS

20 Key importance of TFP; firm dynamics and transfer of knowledge Taxes (and expenditures) likely influence this process. Composition of tax and expenditures. Productivity accelerations seem to be associated with increased international interaction Suggests a focus on tariffs and trade regulation. Structure of tariffs might be more important than levels.

21 THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION


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