Economics

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Attacking Networks of Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence

Ability to raise sufficient tax revenues efficiently and equitably to fund public services is one of the central challenges in economic development. This problem arises partly because of inability to create the capacity to enforce taxes effectively, thus leading to increased tax evasion. Reducing tax evasion requires a detailed understanding of the drivers of tax evasion and the optimal allocation of scarce tax enforcement resources.

Collaborative Research: Regulating Electricity Markets: Impacts on Energy Transitions and Environmental Justice

While electricity generation is critical to modern economic and modern life, it also generates substantial pollution, which falls disproportionately on minority and lower income groups. The world is in the middle of two major transitions to cleaner sources of electricity generation: first from coal to natural gas and from natural gas to renewable energy. These transitions are occurring in a highly regulated environment, raising the question of how regulation affects energy transitions and for the distribution of pollution (environmental justice).

Collaborative Research: Pollution Mitigation and Productivity in Developing Countries

The economies of many developing countries have experienced huge transformations over the past 20 years, but a major cost of development has been air and water pollution. The fact that pollution remains a central problem suggests that it may be very costly to mitigate pollution, in terms of lost productivity and revenues. An opposing view is the "Porter hypothesis" that postulates that environmental policies lead to greater productivity.

Citizen Scrutiny and Government Efforts to Fight Corruption

Corruption in government partly accounts for the slow economic and social progress in many parts of the world. This research will use two projects to investigate how best to efficiently decrease corruption in government contracting. Governments have limited capacity to monitor all aspects of government activity, hence they rely on citizens volunteering information to fight corruption. However, citizens have their own interests and may not possess the same training and capabilities as government workers.

Inequality and Welfare in a Low Rate Environment

The past forty years have been characterized by a secular decline in interest rates and, relatedly, an increase in asset valuations. This proposal consists of two projects that examine the distributional effects of declining interest rates. The first project explores the effect of declining interest rates on wealth inequality. The second examines the welfare implications of declining interest rates by focusing on who gains and who loses from this trend. The project further collects detailed data on high wealth income, and granular data on asset purchases from financial filings and surveys.

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