Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 1:41 pm

Repatriated Profits

Question A: Lowering the effective marginal tax rate on US corporations’ repatriated profits for a year would boost US capital investment significantly.

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: Permanently lowering the effective marginal tax rate on US corporations’ repatriated profits, such as by moving to a territorial-based tax system, would boost US capital investment significantly.

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 Uncertain 4
Significantly unclear. Increase likely, but given limited SR opportunities, much might go to M&A or purchases/inflation of existing assets.
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Disagree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Strongly Disagree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Disagree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Disagree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Disagree 10
there's already $1t sitting domestically on corporate balance sheets not being invested. How would a tax cut to bring back even more help?
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Uncertain 1
Outside my expertise. I generally favor territorial taxation.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 5
The effects are hard to predict. US corporations might simply repatriate the profits and increase dividends or buy back shares.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Uncertain 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 8
tax benefits would occur but this may not change real economic activity
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Disagree 7
A temporary change would produce far more investment in accounting methods for exploiting this than in real capital.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Disagree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Disagree 1
Might pull a little spending forward, but doubt it would genuinely increase it.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Disagree 3 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Disagree 4
I suppose it's possible but the companies with the most overseas profits don't seem cash-constrained.
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Strongly Disagree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 6
"Significantly" is always a difficult word.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Strongly Disagree 7
The evidence on 04 tax holiday indicates no increase in domestic investment, R&D or jobs (Dharmapala, Foley and Forbes, J. of Finance 2011)
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Disagree 4
Hard to see how a one-year blip in domestic cash would cause a significant change in capital budgets
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Strongly Disagree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Uncertain 1
Skeptical that we would see much given how much cash companies are already holding.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Disagree 3
Bio/Vote History
         

Question B Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Uncertain 6
This would also divert investment abroad in a distortionary fashion. Lower corporate taxes would be more powerful.
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Disagree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Disagree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Uncertain 10
lots of evidence both ways on this one. not sure.
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Uncertain 1
see abve
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 5
US corporations might invest more abroad rather than at home. But comanies might issue equity rather than borrowing, which would be good.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Uncertain 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Uncertain 8
Corporations find ways to bring money home without repatriation. Hodrick, SIEPR, July 2013, "Are U.S. firms really holding too much cash?"
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Uncertain 1
not aware of any definitive evidence on this.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Uncertain 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 6
Even better would be to have no corporate income tax and to have a sufficiently progressive consumption tax, but that's wishful thinking.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Uncertain 5
Not sure about substantial, although domestic and foreign investments are probably complements (Desai et al. AEJ 2009)
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Uncertain 4
Depends critically on your model of investment behavior. I don't have one in which I am particularly confident.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Disagree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Uncertain 1
Again, don't see why this would happen.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Uncertain 5
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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