Thursday, February 8, 2018
Omri Marian (UC-Irvine), What We Now Know We Didn't Know About Tax Evasion (And Why It Matters) (JOTWELL) (reviewing Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, Tax Evasion and Inequality (NBER Working Paper No. 23772 (2017)):
Over the past several years, a series of leaks related to offshore tax avoidance and evasion (SwissLeaks, LuxLeaks, the Panama Papers, Bahama Leaks, and Paradise Papers, to name a few) has fueled calls for tax transparency. To date, most discussion of the leaks has been policy-oriented (leaks: good or bad?) and largely anecdotal (based on some truly outrageous revelations). It was not until very recently, however, that a small group of researches started delving into the data exposed by these leaks to make statistically significant empirical findings. Alstadsæter, Johannesen & Zucman’s (AJZ) paper is an excellent example of such paper, which combines methodological sophistication, public data, and leaked data, to make important new contributions to the voluminous literature on the offshore tax world. ...
AJZ’s paper is an early one among several others that use recent leaked data to try to empirically assess what we didn’t know we didn’t know about offshore tax evasion. The implications are profound and should guide data-driven tax policy making for the foreseeable future.