Seth G. Benzell
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Initiative on the Digital Economy
100 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2017||Simulating Business Cash Flow Taxation: An Illustration Based on the “Better Way” Corporate Tax Reform|
with Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Guillermo LaGarda: w23675
The U.S., according to some measures, has one of the highest marginal effective corporate tax rates (METRs) of any developed country. Yet the tax collects less than 2 percent of GDP. This paper studies the impact of replacing the U.S. corporate tax with a Business Cash Flow Tax (BCFT). Our paper studies BCFT reform with reference to a particular, but reasonably generic, proposal, namely the House Republican “Better Way” tax plan. We use the Global Gaidar Model – a 17-region, global, overlapping-generations model, calibrated to U.N. demographic and IMF fiscal data – to simulate the dynamic, general equilibrium impact of this reform. In the short run, the U.S. capital stock, pre-tax wage rates, and GDP rise by roughly 25 percent, 8 percent, and 9 percent, respectively. Over time, the capital...
|June 2015||Simulating Russia’s and Other Large Economies’ Challenging and Interconnected Transitions|
with Eugene Goryunov, Maria Kazakova, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Guillermo LaGarda, Kristina Nesterova, Andrey Zubarev: w21269
This paper develops a large-scale, dynamic life-cycle model to simulate Russia’s demographic and fiscal transition under favorable and unfavorable fossil-fuel price regimes. The model includes Russia, the U.S., China, India, the EU, and Japan+ (Japan plus Korea). The model predicts dramatic increases in tax rates in the U.S., EU, India, and Russia. Indeed, the increases are so large as to question their political feasibility let alone their actual collection given the potential for tax avoidance and tax evasion.
|April 2015||Robots: Curse or Blessing? A Basic Framework|
with Jeffrey D. Sachs, Guillermo LaGarda: w21091
Do robots raise or lower economic well-being? On the one hand, they raise output and bring more goods and services into reach. On the other hand, they eliminate jobs, shift investments away from machines that complement labor, lower wages, and immiserize workers who cannot compete. The net effect of these offsetting forces is unclear. This paper seeks to clarify how economic outcomes, positive or negative, depend both on specific parameters of the economy and public policy. We find that a rise in robotic productivity is more likely to lower the welfare of young workers and future generations when the saving rate is low, automatable and non-automatable goods are more substitutable in consumption, and when traditional capital is a more important complement to labor. In some parameterizations...
|February 2015||Robots Are Us: Some Economics of Human Replacement|
with Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Guillermo LaGarda, Jeffrey D. Sachs: w20941
Will smart machines do to humans what the internal combustion engine did to horses – make them obsolete? If so, can putting people out of work or, at least, good work leave them unable to buy what smart machines produce? Our model’s answer is yes. Over time and under the right conditions, supply reduces demand, leaving everyone worse off in the long-run. Carefully crafted redistribution policies can prevent such immiserating growth. But blunt policies, such as limiting intellectual property rights or restricting labor supply, can make matters worse.