Destined to become the standard guide to the economic policy of the United States during the Reagan era, this book provides an authoritative record of the economic reforms of the 1980s.
In his introduction, Martin Feldstein provides compelling analysis of policies with which he was closely involved as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan administration: monetary and exchange rate policy, tax policy, and budget issues. Other leading economists and policymakers examine a variety of domestic and international issues, including monetary and exchange rate policy, regulation and antitrust, as well as trade, tax, and budget policies.
The contributors to this volume are Alberto Alesina, Phillip Areeda, Elizabeth Bailey, William F. Baxter, C. Fred Bergsten, James Burnley, Geoffrey Carliner, Christopher DeMuth, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Thomas O. Enders, Martin Feldstein, Jeffrey A. Frankel, Don Fullerton, William M. Isaac, Paul L Joskow, Paul Krugman, Robert E. Litan, Russell B. Long, Michael Mussa, William A. Niskanen, Roger G. Noll, Lionel H. Olmer, Rudolph Penner, William Poole, James M. Poterba, Harry M. Reasoner, William R. Rhodes, J. David Richardson, Charles Schultze, Paula Stern, David Stockman, William Taylor, James Tobin, W. Kip Viscusi, Paul A. Volcker, Charles E. Walker, David A. Wise, and Richard G. Woodbury.
This unusual volume marks the sixtieth anniversary of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In contrast to the technical and specialized character of most NBER studies, the current book is designed to provide the general reader with a broad and critical overview of the American economy. The result is a volume of essays that range from monetary policy to productivity development, from population change to international trade.
These thirteen papers and accompanying commentaries are the first fruits of an ongoing research project that has concentrated on developing simulation models that incorporate the behavioral responses of individuals and businesses to alternative tax rules and rates and on expanding computational general equilibrium models that analyze the long-run effects of changes on the economy as a whole.
The principal focus of the project has been on the microsimulation of individual behavior. Thus, this volume includes studies of individual responses to an over reduction in tax rates and to changes in the highest tax rates; a study of alternative tax treatments of the family; and studies of such specific aspects of household behavior as tax treatment of home ownership, charitable contributions, and individual saving behavior. Microsimulation techniques are also used to estimate the effects of alternative policies on the long-run financial status of the social security program and to examine the effects of alternative tax rules on corporate investment and of foreign-source income on overseas investment.
The papers devoted to the development of general equilibrium simulation models to include an examination of the implications of international trade and capital flows, a study of the effects of capital taxation that uses a closed economy equilibrium model, and an examination of the effect of switching to an inflation-indexed tax system. In the volume's final paper, a life-cycle model in which individuals maximize lifetime utility subject to a lifetime budget constraint is used to simulate the effects of tax rules on personal savings.
In recent years, the Federal Reserve and central banks worldwide have enjoyed remarkable success in their battle against inflation. The challenge now confronting the Fed and its counterparts is how to proceed in this newly benign economic environment: Should monetary policy seek to maintain a rate of low-level inflation or eliminate inflation altogether in an effort to attain full price stability?
In a seminal article published in 1997, Martin Feldstein developed a framework for calculating the gains in economic welfare that might result from a move from a low level of inflation to full price stability. The present volume extends that analysis, focusing on the likely costs and benefits of achieving price stability not only in the United States, but in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom as well. The results show that even small changes in already low inflation rates can have a substantial impact on the economic performance of different countries, and that variations in national tax rules can affect the level of gain from disinflation.
Social security is the largest and perhaps the most popular program run by the federal government. Given the projected increase in both individual life expectancy and sheer number of retirees, however, the current system faces an eventual overload. Alternative proposals have emerged, ranging from reductions in future benefits to a rise in taxrevenue to various forms of investment-based personal retirement accounts.
As this volume suggests, the distributional consequences of these proposals are substantially different and may disproportionately affect those groups who depend on social security to avoid poverty in old age. Together, these studies persuasively show that appropriately designed investment-based social security reforms can effectively reduce the long-term burden of an aging society on future taxpayers, increase the expected future income of retirees, and mitigate poverty rates among the elderly.
In the late 1990s, economic and financial crises raged through East Asia, devastating economies that had previously been considered among the strongest in the developing world. The crises eventually spread to Russia, Turkey, and Latin America, and impacted the economies of many industrialized nations as well. In today's increasingly interdependent world, finding ways to reduce the risk of future crises—and to improve the management of crises when they occur—has become an international policy challenge of paramount importance.
This book rises to that challenge, presenting accessible papers and commentaries on the topic not only from leading academic economists, but also from high-ranking government officials (in both industrial and developing nations), senior policymakers at international institutions, and major financial investors. Six non-technical papers, each written by a specialist in the topic, provide essential economic background, introducing sections on exchange rate regimes, financial policies, industrial country policies, IMF stabilization policies, IMF structural programs, and creditor relations. Next, personal statements from the major players give firsthand accounts of what really went on behind the scenes during the crises, giving us a rare glimpse into how international economic policy decisions are actually made. Finally, wide-ranging discussions and debates sparked by these papers and statements are summarized at the end of each section.
The result is an indispensable overview of the key issues at work in these crises, written by the people who move markets and reshape economies, and accessible to not just economists and policymakers, but also to educated general readers.
Montek S. Ahluwalia, Domingo F. Cavallo, William R. Cline, Andrew Crockett, Michael P. Dooley, Sebastian Edwards, Stanley Fischer, Arminio Fraga, Jeffrey Frankel, Jacob Frenkel, Timothy F. Geithner, Morris Goldstein, Paul Keating, Mervyn King, Anne O. Krueger, Roberto Mendoza, Frederic S. Mishkin, Guillermo Ortiz, Yung Chul Park, Nouriel Roubini, Robert Rubin, Jeffrey Sachs, Ammar Siamwalla, George Soros
The Economics of Art Museums
Edited and with an Introduction by Martin Feldstein University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress N510.E27 1991 | Dewey Decimal 338.4770813
The National Bureau of Economic Research organized a project to explore the economic issues facing the major art museums of the United States. For this purpose NBER defined economics broadly to include not only the financial situation of the museums but also the management and growth of museum collections, the museums' relationship with the public, and the role of the government in supporting art museums.
This volume brings together nontechnical essays on these issues by economists associated with the NBER and personal statements by leaders of America's major national art museums and related foundations. It can be read not only by economists but also by museum officials and trustees. Museum directors generally come to their responsibilities with a background in art history and curatorial work but without experience in thinking about the management and public policy aspects of museum administration. Trustees who serve on museum boards generally have a background in business or law but have not previously tried to apply their experience to the unusual economic problems of museums. The background papers, the panelists' remarks, and the summary of the discussion will help them to approach their responsibilities with a better understanding of the problems and possibilities of the museum.
Research on capital formation has long been a major focus of studies sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research because of the crucial role of capital accumulation in the process of economic growth. The papers in this volume examine the influence of taxes on capital formation, with specific focus on the determinants of saving and the process of investment in plant and equipment.
The tax rules of the United States and other countries have intended and unintended effects on the operations of multinational corporations, influencing everything from the formation and allocation of capital to competitive strategies. The growing importance of international business has led economists to reconsider whether current systems of taxing international income are viable in a world of significant capital market integration and global commercial competition.
In an attempt to quantify the effect of tax policy on international investment choices, this volume presents in-depth analyses of the interaction of international tax rules and the investment decisions of multinational enterprises. Ten papers assess the role played by multinational firms and their investment in the U.S. economy and the design of international tax rules for multinational investment; analyze channels through which international tax rules affect the costs of international business activities; and examine ways in which international tax rules affect financing decisions of multinational firms. As a group, the papers demonstrate that international tax rules have significant effects on firms' investment and other financing decisions.
Tax policy debates—and reforms—depend heavily on estimates of how alternative tax rules would affect behavior. Yet there is considerable controversy about the key empirical links among tax rates, household decisions, and revenue collections.
The nine papers in this volume exploit the substantial variation in U.S. tax policy during the last two decades to investigate how taxes affect a range of household behavior, including labor-force participation, saving behavior, choice of health insurance plan, choice of child care arrangements, portfolio choice, and tax evasion. They also present new analytical results on the effects of different types of tax policy. All of this research relies on household-level data—drawn either from public-use tax return files or from large household-level surveys—to explore various aspects of the relationship between taxes and household behavior.
As debates about the effects of proposed tax reforms continue in the 1990s, this volume will be of interest to policy makers and scholars in the field of public finance.
Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation brings together fourteen papers that show the importance of the interaction between tax rules and monetary policy. Based on theoretical and empirical research, these papers emphasize the importance of including explicit specifications of the tax system in such study.
International Capital Flows
Edited by Martin Feldstein University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress HG3891.I558 1999 | Dewey Decimal 332.042
Recent changes in technology, along with the opening up of many regions previously closed to investment, have led to explosive growth in the international movement of capital. Flows from foreign direct investment and debt and equity financing can bring countries substantial gains by augmenting local savings and by improving technology and incentives. Investing companies acquire market access, lower cost inputs, and opportunities for profitable introductions of production methods in the countries where they invest.
But, as was underscored recently by the economic and financial crises in several Asian countries, capital flows can also bring risks. Although there is no simple explanation of the currency crisis in Asia, it is clear that fixed exchange rates and chronic deficits increased the likelihood of a breakdown. Similarly, during the 1970s, the United States and other industrial countries loaned OPEC surpluses to borrowers in Latin America. But when the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates to control soaring inflation, the result was a widespread debt moratorium in Latin America as many countries throughout the region struggled to pay the high interest on their foreign loans.
International Capital Flows contains recent work by eminent scholars and practitioners on the experience of capital flows to Latin America, Asia, and eastern Europe. These papers discuss the role of banks, equity markets, and foreign direct investment in international capital flows, and the risks that investors and others face with these transactions. By focusing on capital flows' productivity and determinants, and the policy issues they raise, this collection is a valuable resource for economists, policymakers, and financial market participants.
"A readable, balanced, and provocative view of the prospects for fruitful international economic cooperation. The papers are realistic: each discusses the difficulties involved in reaching cooperative solutions or procedures as well as the benefits of doing so. The discussion among the conference participants is lively, interesting, and insightful."--William H. Branson, Princeton University
Privatizing Social Security
Edited by Martin Feldstein University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress HD7105.4.P75 1998 | Dewey Decimal 332.67254
This volume represents the most important work to date on one of the pressing policy issues of the moment: the privatization of social security. Although social security is facing enormous fiscal pressure in the face of an aging population, there has been relatively little published on the fundamentals of essential reform through privatization. Privatizing Social Security fills this void by studying the methods and problems involved in shifting from the current system to one based on mandatory saving in individual accounts.
"Timely and important. . . . [Privatizing Social Security] presents a forceful case for a radical shift from the existing unfunded, pay-as-you-go single national program to a mandatory funded program with individual savings accounts. . . . An extensive analysis of how a privatized plan would work in the United States is supplemented with the experiences of five other countries that have privatized plans." —Library Journal
"[A] high-powered collection of essays by top experts in the field."—Timothy Taylor, Public Interest
Our current social security system operates on a pay-as-you-go basis; benefits are paid almost entirely out of current revenues. As the ratio of retirees to taxpayers increases, concern about the high costs of providing benefits in a pay-as-you-go system has led economists to explore other options. One involves "prefunding," in which a person's withholdings are invested in financial instruments, such as stocks and bonds, the eventual returns from which would fund his or her retirement. The risks such a system would introduce—such as the volatility in the market prices of investment assets—are the focus of this offering from the NBER. Exploring the issues involved in measuring risk and developing models to reflect the risks of various investment-based systems, economists evaluate the magnitude of the risks that both retirees and taxpayers would assume. The insights that emerge show that the risk is actually moderate relative to the improved return, as well as being balanced by the ability of an investment-based system to adapt to differences in individual preferences and conditions.
The Risk of Economic Crisis
Edited by Martin Feldstein University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress HB3711.R54 1991 | Dewey Decimal 338.542
The stunning collapse of the thrift industry, the major stock slump of 1987, rising corporate debt, wild fluctuations of currency exchange rates, and a rash of defaults on developing country debts have revived fading memories of the Great Depression and fueled fears of an impending economic crisis. Under what conditions are financial markets vulnerable to disruption and what economic consequences ensue when these markets break down?
In this accessible and thought-provoking volume, Benjamin M. Friedman investigates the origins of financial crisis in domestic capital markets, Paul Krugman examines the international origins and transmission of financial and economic crises, and Lawrence H. Summers explores the transition from financial crisis to economic collapse. In the introductory essay, Martin Feldstein reviews the major financial problems of the 1980s and discusses lessons to be learned from this experience. The book also contains provocative observations by senior academics and others who have played leading roles in business and government.
Social Security in the United States and in Europe is at a critical juncture. Through the essays assembled in Social Security Pension Reform in Europe, Martin Feldstein and Horst Siebert, along with a number of distinguished contributors, discuss the challenges facing Social Security reform in the aging societies of Europe. A remarkable range of European nations—Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Hungary—have implemented or are about to implement mixed Social Security systems that combine a traditional defined benefit of the pay-as-you-go system with an individual retirement account defined contribution of a capital-funded system.
The essays here highlight the problems that the European pension reform process faces and how it differs from that of the United States. This timely volume will significantly enrich the debate on pension reform worldwide.
Taxes and Capital Formation
Edited by Martin Feldstein University of Chicago Press, 1987 Library of Congress HJ2381.T395 1987 | Dewey Decimal 336.200973
Economists have long recognized the importance of capital accumulation for productivity and economic growth. The National Bureau of Economic Research is currently engaged in a study of the relationship between such accumulation and taxation policies, with particular focus on saving, risk-taking, and corporate investment in the United States and abroad. The papers presented in Taxes and Capital Formation are accessible, nontechnical summaries of fourteen individual research projects within that study. Complete technical reports on this research are published in a separate volume, The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, also edited by Martin Feldstein.
By addressing some of the most critical policy issues of the day with a minimum of economic jargon, Taxes and Capital Formation makes the results of Bureau research available to a wide audience of policy officials and staff as well as to members of the business community. The volume should also prove useful for courses in public policy, business, and law. In keeping with Bureau tradition, the papers do not contain policy recommendations; instead, they promote a better understanding of how the economy works and the effects of specific policies on particular aspects of the economy.
Taxing Multinational Corporations
Edited by Martin Feldstein, James R. Hines Jr., and R. Glenn Hubbard University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress HD2753.A3T388 1995 | Dewey Decimal 336.243
In the increasingly global business environment of the 1990s, policymakers and executives of multinational corporations must make informed decisions based on a sound knowledge of U.S. and foreign tax policy. Written for a nontechnical audience, Taxing Multinational Corporations summarizes the up-to-the-minute research on the structure and effects of tax policies collected in The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations. The book covers such practical issues as the impact of tax law on U.S. competitiveness, the volume and location of research and development spending, the extent of foreign direct investment, and the financial practices of multinational companies.
In ten succinct chapters, the book documents the channels through which tax policy in the United States and abroad affects plant and equipment investments, spending on research and development, the cost of debt and equity finance, and dividend repatriations by United States subsidiaries. It also discusses the impact of U.S. firms' outbound foreign investment on domestic and foreign economies. Especially useful to nonspecialists is an appendix that summarizes current United States rules for taxing international income.
The United States in the World Economy offers the results of a conference organized by the National Bureau of Economics in 1987. The volume includes background papers prepared by nine academic economists, personal statements by individuals prominent in government and business, and summaries of the discussion that followed the presentations. Among the topics considered are foreign competition in Latin America and the Asian Pacific Rim, Third World debts, innovations in international financial markets, changing patterns of international investment, international capital flows, and international competition in goods, services, and agriculture. Prepared for a sophisticated but non-technical audience, these papers present complicated economic issues clearly, indicating the many ways in which the American economy influences and is influenced by economic events and conditions around the world.