Recent Conferences


October 4 and 5, 2007
Washington, D.C.


Call for Papers


April 17-18, 2009
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

On April 17-18, 2009, the Office of Tax Policy Research will sponsor a conference in Ann Arbor on the role of firms in tax systems, and has issued a call for papers.

The submitted papers should focus on the role of firms in the implementation of tax systems, including their role in remitting revenue to the tax authority in the form of corporation income tax, value added taxes, and withholding on labor income tax. We invite normative models of firm-based tax systems implemented in countries with limited administrative capacity, avoidance and evasion, as well as positive models that look beyond constant-returns-to-scale and allow heterogeneous firms. Empirical applications are equally welcome, including on such topics as the effect of taxation on the size distribution of firms and the “missing middle,” the formation of VAT chains, the impact of size thresholds for tax registration, and the effect of tax thresholds on firm concentration and production patterns. Authors with a background in development economics or industrial organization, but interested in the overlap with taxation, are especially encouraged to participate.

For more information, please go to our Web site at


Other News

OTPR is spreading its wings around the world. By our count, there are recent OTPR alumni now working in universities or the private sector in six countries in four continents: Claudia Martinez and Claudio Agostini in Chile, Christian Jaramillo in Colombia, Peter Katuscak in the Czech Republic, Naomi Feldman in Israel, Shih-Ying Wu in Taiwan, and Soraphol (Daeng) Tulayasathien in Thailand.

OTPR directors James Hines and Joel Slemrod are finalizing their contributions to the report of the Mirrlees Committee, which brought together tax scholars from the United Kingdom and the rest of the world to evaluate the U.K. tax system in the light of modern theoretical and empirical advances.

In May, Joel Slemrod will be presenting a lecture on world tax reform developments to the School of Public Finance and Taxation at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. In July he will visit Wellington, New Zealand to deliver a keynote lecture on public economics at ESAM08, a joint meeting of the Australian Econometric Society and the New Zealand Association of Economists, and then a few days later he will give the Condliffe Memorial Lecture at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. In October he will deliver the Zeuthen Lectures at the University of Copenhagen.

Joel Slemrod, OTPR Director, and Kyle Logue, University of Michigan Professor of Law, co-organizers of the conference

On Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5, the Office of Tax Policy Research hosted a conference entitled “Technology, Privacy, and the Future of Taxation,” in Washington, D.C. The conference featured eight papers from leading scholars and policy makers addressing how advances in information technology will affect tax policy, including what specific policy responses may be needed to keep the proper balance between taking advantage of the efficiencies afforded by new technology and the potential dangers due to infringement of citizens’ privacy due to the centralization of information collection. The conference was cosponsored by the American Tax Policy Institute with funding also provided by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

The authors, titles, and links to paper summaries follow.

“The IRS and Technology: Vision and Strategy” (PDF)
Andrew Buckler (Internal Revenue Service)

“Using Technology for Simple Returns: Pre-populated Returns and IRS-provided Software” (PDF)
Joseph Bankman (Stanford Law School)

“Technology and Taxation in Developing Countries” (PDF)
Richard Bird (University of Toronto)
Eric Zolt (UCLA Law School)

“International Information Sharing” (PDF)
Grace Perez-Navarro (OECD)

“The SSTP and Technology: Implications for the Future of the Sales Tax.” (PDF)
William Fox (University of Tennessee)
LeAnn Luna (University of Tennessee)
Matthew Murray (University of Tennessee)

“Genes as Tags: Tax Implications of Widely Available
Genetic Information”
Kyle Logue (University of Michigan Law School)
Joel Slemrod (University of Michigan)

“Problems and Promise of Smart Cards” (PDF)
Frank Cowell (London School of Economics)

“Privacy Issues in the Future of Taxation” (PDF)
Paul Schwartz (Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley)

Tax Rebates

The weakening economy prompted Congress to pass a stimulus package including payments to individuals similar to the tax rebate episode of 2001. But how much would tax rebates really help the economy? Evidence from the 2001 experience with tax rebates suggests that they may not be as effective as many might hope, because consumers use the rebate checks to save or pay down debt more than they use them to spend.

OTPR Director Joel Slemrod and University of Michigan economics professor Matthew D. Shapiro researched the effects of the 2001 rebates. Their analysis can be found in two papers – “Consumer Response to Tax Rebates” and “Did the 2001 Tax Rebate Stimulate Spending? Evidence from Taxpayer Surveys.” They are doing similar survey research in 2008.

OTPR’S Web Site Has a New Look!

Be sure to check out our newly updated Web site at