Monthly Archives: March 2013

By Michael Pomerleano

Paradigms accepted as self-evident truths occasionally need to be re-examined. Corporate taxation is one of them. While governments are looking more and more for fiscal resources to fill budget gaps under the auspices of “rationalizing” the corporate tax systems, this article argues that a new, minimalistic approach to corporate taxation can yield surprising benefits. Read more

European court ruled that stability mechanism was not contrary to EU law. Image by Getty

By Professor Simon Deakin

Courts don’t often try to decide the direction of economic policy. However, in effect, this is what the European Court has recently done. In its Pringle judgment the court made a number of important decisions on the legality of bail-out policies being pursued by the European Union.

It ruled that the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism – the fund through which financial assistance will in future be channelled to eurozone states facing the possibility of bankruptcy – was not contrary to EU law. By implication, the ruling also supports the recent attempts by the European Central Bank to shore up the euro by buying the government bonds of debtor states on secondary markets (that is, buying them from commercial banks that have first purchased them from governments). Read more

By Kevin P. Gallagher

Negotiators will meet in Singapore this week for yet another round of talks on a Trans-Pacific Partnership – it is the 16th time in just a few years. A TPP would bring together key Pacific-rim countries into a trading bloc that the US hopes would counter China’s growing influence in the region.

Among other sticking points, talks remain stalled because the US insists that its TPP trading partners dismantle regulations for cross-border finance. Many TPP nations will have nothing of it, and for good reason. The US stance stands on the wrong side of country experience, economic theory and guidelines issued by the International Monetary Fund. Read more

By Heleen Mees

With anger directed towards bankers and rating agencies alike, this may be a good time to remember that low interest rates, rather than faulty mortgage products, are the root cause of the financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession.

I once quipped that to understand the origins of the financial crisis and recession, one should not read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, but economist and Nobel Laureate Arthur Lewis’s Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor instead.

The Big Short provides an entertaining account of how low-income households in the US were force-fed unaffordable subprime mortgages, for the sole purpose of adding to the fortunes of Wall Street bankers. But if less subprime mortgages had been originated in the 2000s, the bubble (and bust) in the prime US mortgage market would arguably have been more extensive than it was. Read more