Does Social Capital Matter in Corporate Decisions? Evidence from Corporate Tax Avoidance
Journal of Accounting Research,
We investigate whether the levels of social capital in U.S. counties, as captured by strength of civic norms and density of social networks in the counties, are systematically related to tax avoidance activities of corporations with headquarters located in the counties. We find strong negative associations between social capital and corporate tax avoidance, as captured by effective tax rates and book-tax differences. These results are incremental to the effects of local religiosity and firm culture toward socially irresponsible activities. They are robust to using organ donation as an alternative social capital proxy and fixed effect regressions. They extend to aggressive tax avoidance practices. Additionally, we provide corroborating evidence using firms with headquarters relocation that changes the exposure to social capital. We conclude that social capital surrounding corporate headquarters provides environmental influences constraining corporate tax avoidance.
14.12.2017 • 39/2017
Cyclical upswing in Germany and in the world
At the turn of the year, the cyclical upswing in Germany continues. Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.2% in 2017, and because this year has seen significantly fewer working days than before, the rate of change amounts, adjusted for calendar effects, to even 2.5%. “The upswing is broad-based”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president. “For quite a long time now, significant increases in employment have been driving private incomes, consumption and housing construction. The latter was, in addition, stimulated by low interest rates.” Currently, German exports are benefiting from the vivid international economy. Not least since monetary policy in the euro area remains expansionary for the time being, we expect the upturn to continue in 2018 and production to increase again by 2.2%. Consumer price inflation is, with 1.7%, still moderate in both 2017 and 2018. Although domestic price pressures are on the rise, the effects of the energy price increase in 2017 expire in 2018, and the appreciation of the euro in the summer of 2017 will dampen price dynamics.
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28.09.2017 • 35/2017
Joint Economic Forecast—Autumn 2017: Upturn Remains Robust—Amid Mounting Tensions
The German economic upturn has gained both in terms of strength and breadth. In addition to consumer spending, external trade and investments are now also contributing to economic expansion. These are the conclusions drawn by the economic research institutes in their autumn report for the German federal government. Whereas the very high economic momentum in the first half of the current year will slow slightly, expansion of economic output this year and next will exceed production capacity growth. As a result, overall capacity utilization will increase, with economic output exceeding potential output. Gross Domestic Product is likely to grow by 1.9 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2018 (calendar-adjusted: 2.2 and 2.1 percent, respectively).
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08.06.2017 • 25/2017
The German Economy: Strong Economic Activity in Germany and in the World
In the early summer of 2017, economic momentum in the world is quite strong. Important general conditions for the global economy are likely to remain favourable: Interest rates will continue to be low almost everywhere, and low inflationary pressure suggests that there are hardly any constraints from the supply side.
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19.04.2017 • 18/2017
The state as a pioneering customer: How public demand can drive private innovation
Especially in technology-intensive industries, demand from the state can expand private markets and create incentives for privately funded research and development, a new study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association shows.
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12.04.2017 • 19/2017
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2017: Upturn in Germany strengthens in spite of global economic risks
The German economy is already in the fifth year of a moderate upturn. According to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by Germany’s five leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government, capacity utilization is gradually increasing, and aggregate production capacities are now likely to have slightly exceeded their normal utilisation levels. However, cyclical dynamics remain low compared to earlier periods of recoveries, as consumption expenditures, which do not exhibit strong fluctuations, have been the main driving force so far. In addition, net migration increases potential output, counteracting a stronger capacity tightening. “Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to expand by 1.5% (1.8% adjusted for calendar effects) and 1.8% in the next year. Unemployment is expected to fall to 6.1% in 2016, to 5.7% in 2017 and 5.4% in 2018”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association. Inflation is expected to increase markedly over the forecast horizon. After an increase in consumer prices of only 0.5% in 2016, the inflation rate is expected to rise to 1.8% in 2017 and 1.7% in 2018. The public budget surplus will reduce only modestly. Public finances are slightly stimulating economic activity in the current year and are cyclically neutral in the year ahead.
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Debt Brake Will Intensify Bracket Creep Problem
As taxpayers typically pay relatively little attention to low levels of inflation induced income tax bracket creep, policy makers tend to regularly postpone correction of this problem. Eventually, however, the fiscal illusion fades away, and political pressure for tax relief arises once the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, it is shown that bracket creep can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets that hinder governments’ compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff, which would provide an automatic correction for bracket creep, could prevent such fluctuations and thus provide a favourable framework for the debt brake.
Financial Transaction Taxes: Announcement Effects, Short-run Effects, and Long-run Effects
IWH Discussion Papers,
We analyze the impact of the French 2012 financial transaction tax (FTT) on trading volumes, stock prices, liquidity, and volatility. We extend the empirical research by identifying FTT announcement and short-run treatment effects, which can distort difference-in-differences estimates. In addition, we consider long-run volatility measures that better fit the French FTT’s legislative design. While we find strong evidence of a positive FTT announcement effect on trading volumes, there is almost no statistically significant evidence of a long-run treatment effect. Thus, evidence of a strong reduction of trading volumes resulting from the French FTT might be driven by announcement effects and short-term treatment effects. We find evidence of an increase of intraday volatilities in the announcement period and a significant reduction of weekly and monthly volatilities in the treatment period. Our findings support theoretical considerations suggesting a stabilizing impact of FTTs on financial markets.
EFN Report Winter 2016/17: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2017 and 2018
European Forecasting Network Report,
Global economic activity has revived since autumn, and equity markets have rallied at the end of the year. Apparently, some of the measures proposed during the US election campaign by the president elect, such as financial market deregulation, economic stimulus, tax cuts and infrastructure are expected to support the economy in the US and beyond. However, this stimulus bears considerable risks already for the near future: other economies could face considerable problems due to a further appreciation of the dollar, rising financing costs and the withdrawal of capital towards the US. In the euro area, as monetary policy continues its expansive course, financing costs will stay very low in 2017, and fiscal policy will be mildly expansive, although a bit less so than in 2016. Confidence of firms and private households has strengthened in recent months, as has the mood on financial markets. We expect that the recovery will continue at about the pace of 2016. GDP will, according to our forecast, increase by 1.6% in 2017 and by 1.7% in 2018. However, the crisis in the Italian banking sector has intensified. It might also trigger another crisis of confidence in European institutional arrangements: according to the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, banks may only be saved with public money if owners and creditors of these banks have contributed to the rescue. At present it seems doubtful whether it would be politically feasible to respect this rule. Regarding inflation, our forecast for 2017 is 1.2%. Although energy prices have risen significantly, price pressures are still low.
14.12.2016 • 50/2016
The German Economy: Economic Activity Spurred by Private Consumption and Construction
German economic activity remains robust due to strong domestic demand. IWH forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 1.3% in 2017. The growth rate is half a percentage point lower than in 2016 due to calendar effects and a negative contribution of external trade. Consumer price inflation also remains modest (1.3%). “Unemployment is expected to increase slightly due to a protracted integration of refugees into the labor market”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president
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