Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 2:29 pm

Border Adjustment Tax

Question A: Implementing a "destination based cash flow tax (including border adjustment)" of the type advocated by Speaker Ryan would substantially reduce the US trade deficit within the next few years.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question B: Implementing a “destination based cash flow tax (including border adjustment)” of the type advocated by Speaker Ryan would substantially raise prices for US consumers.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question A Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Disagree 6
Replacing the sales tax with a value-added tax would be a good idea. This is less clear, but no major effect deficit.
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Disagree 2 Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 5
I'm reasonably persuaded by Auerbach and Holtz-Eakin, but I'm not certain that U.S. currency will fall one-for-one with the border tax
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Uncertain 7
Only in the short-run possibly. In the long-run, dollar appreciation will reduce the advantage of US exporters.
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Disagree 4
I understand the exchange rate argument but am not certain of a full offset.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 3
I am assuming that trade retaliation and changes in foreign exchange prices are not big enough within three years to overcome the effect.
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Uncertain 10
Would depend on the reaction of other variables affecting investment & saving, starting with the exchange rate.
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Uncertain 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Uncertain 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Disagree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Disagree 7
It's just like a VAT. Countries with VATs do not get a trade advantage. Consumers pay same rate on import/domestic. Exch rates offset/adjust
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 5
I don't know what the effects of a destination based tax would be or whether it would improve matters. I would prefer a consumption tax.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Disagree 7
The impact will not be "substantial". Trade deficit implies capital surplus; what is bad about that?
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 3
Currency offset is unlikely to be one for one, so some trade effects are likely. Magnitude would depend on the size of the tax.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Disagree 4 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Uncertain 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Agree 4
Substantially needs defining, but because unlikely full ex rate adjustment, not negligible effect.
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Uncertain 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Uncertain 1
There are too many unknowns, including the reactions of other countries, to have any confidence that this would reduce the deficit.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Disagree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Disagree 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Disagree 3
Should have only second order effects. Imperfect exchange rate adjustment may cause more real impact, but "substantial" not plausible.
Bio/Vote History
         

Question B Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Disagree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Disagree 2 Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 5
If dollar does not lose value to fully offset tax, then yes, consumer prices will rise.
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Uncertain 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Uncertain 10
Would depend on the reaction of other variables, starting with the exchange rate.
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Agree 10
The point of the tax is to shift fr/producers who are mobile to consumers who aren't. That means consumer prices go up. There's no magic.
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 5
I don't know what the effects of a destination based tax would be or whether it would improve matters. I would prefer a consumption tax.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Agree 8
Certainly in the short run.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 1
Magnitude hard to judge but lobbying by Walmart is not an accident, some pass through into prices likely.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Disagree 4 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Uncertain 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Agree 4
"Substantially" here would mean 1 -2 % on level of CPI.
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 8
Whatever the effect on the deficit, it is likely to have adverse effects on domestic prices.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Disagree 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Disagree 4
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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