Joel Slemrod

Joel Slemrod is Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan, where he is also Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research.

  • Taxing Ourselves, Fifth Edition

    Taxing Ourselves, Fifth Edition

    A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes

    Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija

    The new edition of a popular guide to the key issues in tax reform, presented in a clear, nontechnical, and unbiased way.

    To follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is often forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the oversimplified and the arcane, presenting the key issues clearly and without a political agenda. Tax policy experts Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija lay out in accessible language what is known and not known about how taxes affect the economy and offer guidelines for evaluating tax systems—both the current tax system and proposals to reform it.

    This fifth edition has been extensively revised to incorporate the latest data, empirical evidence, and tax law. It offers new material on recent tax reform proposals, expanded coverage of international tax issues, and the latest enforcement initiatives. Offering historical perspectives, outlining the basic criteria by which tax policy should be judged (fairness, economic impact, enforceability), examining proposals for both radical change (replacement of the income tax with a flat tax or consumption tax) and incremental changes to the current system, and concluding with a voter's guide, the book provides readers with enough background to make informed judgments about how we should tax ourselves.

    Praise for earlier editions “An excellent book.”—Jeff Medrick, New York Times “A fair-minded exposition of a politically loaded subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

    • Hardcover $75.00 £62.95
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00
  • Tax Systems

    Tax Systems

    Joel Slemrod and Christian Gillitzer

    An approach to taxation that goes beyond an emphasis on tax rates to consider such aspects as administration, compliance, and remittance.

    Despite its theoretical elegance, the standard optimal tax model has significant limitations. In this book, Joel Slemrod and Christian Gillitzer argue that tax analysis must move beyond the emphasis on optimal tax rates and bases to consider such aspects of taxation as administration, compliance, and remittance.

    Slemrod and Gillitzer explore what they term a tax-systems approach, which takes tax evasion seriously; revisits the issue of remittance, or who writes the check to cover tax liability (employer or employee, retailer or consumer); incorporates administrative and compliance costs; recognizes a range of behavioral responses to tax rates; considers nonstandard instruments, including tax base breadth and enforcement effort; and acknowledges that tighter enforcement is sometimes a more socially desirable way to raise revenue than an increase in statutory tax rates. Policy makers, Slemrod and Gillitzer argue, would be well advised to recognize the interrelationship of tax rates, bases, enforcement, and administration, and acknowledge that tax policy is really tax-systems policy.

    • Hardcover $34.00 £27.00
  • Taxing Ourselves, Fourth Edition

    Taxing Ourselves, Fourth Edition

    A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes

    Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija

    The fourth edition of a popular guide to the key issues in tax reform, discussing the current system and alternative proposals clearly and without a political agenda.

    As Albert Einstein may or may not have said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." Indeed, to follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the two by discussing the key issues clearly and without a political agenda: Should the federal income tax be replaced with a flat tax or sales tax? Should it be left in place and reformed? Can tax cuts stimulate the economy, or will higher deficits undermine any economic benefit? Authors and tax policy experts Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija lay out in accessible language what is known and not known about how taxes affect the economy, offer guidelines for evaluating tax systems, and provide enough information to assess both the current income tax system and the leading proposals to reform or replace it (including the flat tax and the consumption tax).

    The fourth edition of this popular guide has been extensively revised to incorporate the latest information, covering such recent developments as the Bush administration's tax cuts (which expire in 2011) and the alternatives proposed by the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Slemrod and Bakija provide us with the knowledge and the tools—including an invaluable voter's guide to the tax policy debate—to make our own informed choices about how we should tax ourselves.

    • Hardcover $63.00 £43.95
    • Paperback $30.95 £24.00
  • Fiscal Reform in Colombia

    Fiscal Reform in Colombia

    Problems and Prospects

    Richard M. Bird, James M. Poterba, and Joel Slemrod

    Essays coathored by Colombian and North American tax experts analyze ways to achieve long-term sustainable fiscal policy and a more efficient tax system.

    Colombia, once a model of fiscal discipline for other Latin American nations, has seen its fiscal situation deteriorate since the early 1990s. Higher government spending, taxes that did not keep pace with expenditures, and severe recession led to an unsustainable debt-to-GDP ratio of 52 percent in 2002. Short-term tax increases, even coupled with spending reforms, have not restored Colombia to fiscal balance. A Colombian government commission charged with researching more long-term tax and fiscal reforms gave rise to the selected essays included in this book, each coauthored by Colombian and North American public finance experts. The analyses and recommendations have particular policy relevance for developing economies in general.The studies include both broad discussions of Colombian fiscal and tax systems and detailed analyses of such specific tax instruments as the payroll tax, value-added tax, and the bank debit tax. The focus is on three key concerns: the sustainability of Colombia's fiscal situation, possible reforms to the national tax system, and the fiscal relationship between the national and subnational governments. The theme that emerges from these studies—the importance of moving toward a more efficient and equitable tax system while also raising revenue—suggests the limitations of stopgap measures and the real need for long-term fiscal reform.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £27.95
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • Taxing Ourselves, Third Edition

    Taxing Ourselves, Third Edition

    A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes

    Jon Bakija and Joel Slemrod

    The third edition of a popular guide to the key issues in tax reform, providing detailed discussion of the current system and alternative proposals, an overview of principles that should govern tax policy, and a voter's guide to the tax policy debate.

    To follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the two by presenting in clear nontechnical language the key issues in tax reform: who should pay taxes, how taxes affect the economy, and whether to reform or replace the current tax system. The authors discuss various alternative proposals in detail, including the flat tax and the sales tax, but they are not advocates for any of them; instead, they provide readers with the knowledge and the tools—including an informative overview of the U.S. tax system and an invaluable voter's guide to the tax policy debate—to make their own informed choices about how we should tax ourselves. The third edition of this popular guide has been extensively revised and updated to cover all changes in tax laws through May 2003 and to reflect the most recent research and relevant data. It also provides new or expanded treatment of issues in the current debate, including tax cuts and whether they stimulate the economy, savings incentives, double taxation of corporate income, the estate tax, corporate tax shelters, and the economic and political effects of budget deficits.

    • Hardcover $55.00
    • Paperback $6.75 £5.95
  • Taxing Ourselves, Second Edition

    Taxing Ourselves, Second Edition

    A Citizen's Guide to the Great Debate over Tax Reform

    Jon Bakija and Joel Slemrod

    A clear, informative guide to tax reform, including a voter's guide for the 2000 presidential campaign.

    A majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the current income tax system. They complain that taxes are too high, complicated, difficult, unfair, and sometimes intrusive to enforce. Yet how should the system be fixed? InTaxing Ourselves, Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija offer a guide to the tax reform debate in clear, nontechnical language without misleading the reader with oversimplifications. The second edition takes account of tax developments through 1998, examines recent research on the economic impact of taxation, and includes a new appendix containing the key statistics on the U.S. tax system throughout its history.

    The book gives a historical perspective on taxation in the United States along with a concise description of our current federal income tax system. It reviews basic criteria by which tax policy should be judged and examines how the tax burden is distributed and what is known about the economic effects of taxation. The book then covers the key elements of various tax reform proposals, including a single rate, a clean base, and a consumption base. The book closes with a voter's guide to tax reform for the concerned citizen to keep handy when the rhetoric heats up—as it inevitably will during the 2000 presidential campaign—to help separate fact from fiction and reality from campaign promises.

    • Hardcover $57.50
    • Paperback $22.95
  • Do Taxes Matter?

    The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986

    Joel Slemrod

    A timely and important study. Required reading for anyone who cares about the future of tax policy.

    Do Taxes Matter? is the first systematic examination of the actual effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the most important U.S. income tax reform of the last four decades. It presents basic information on and an analysis of a variety of different aspects of economic behavior in order to discover whether the observed changes coincide with the predictions of standard public finance models. Prior to implementation of the new law, supporters and opponents made numerous forecasts about its effect on savings, corporate investment, and other major determinants of the country's economic health. The general finding of these original contributions is that the effects of tax reform turned out to be smaller than had been anticipated.Commissioned by the Office of Tax Policy Research of the University of Michigan, eight of the studies focus on different sectors of the economy, reviewing the predictions and carefully analyzing the evidence to determine actual effects. The ninth study draws together the results to find lessons for future changes in tax policy.

    Contents The Economic Impact of Tax Reform Act of 1986, Joel Slemrod • Investment, Tax Policy, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Alan J. Auerbach, Kevin Hassett • The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform on Personal Saving, Jonathan Skinner, Daniel Feenberg • Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Corporate Financial Policy and Organizational Form, Roger H. Gordon, Jeffrey K. MacKie­Mason • Taxation and Housing Markets: Preliminary Evidence on the Effects of Recent Tax Reforms, James M. Poterba • The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Foreign Direct Investment to and from the United States, Joel Slemrod • The Impact of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving: A 1989 Perspective, Charles T. Clotfelter • The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on State and Local Fiscal Behavior, Paul N. Courant, Edward M. Gramlich • Foreign Responses to U.S. Tax Reform, John Whalley • Lessons for Tax Reform, Henry J. Aaron

    • Hardcover $55.00

Contributor

  • Fundamental Tax Reform

    Fundamental Tax Reform

    Issues, Choices, and Implications

    John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow

    Leading experts on tax policy examine the complex issues involved in fundamental tax reform, including the relative merits of income-based and consumption-based taxation.

    Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics. Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third).

    In Fundamental Tax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown—or unknowable. The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effect of tax reform on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics.

    Contributors Rosanne Altshuler, Alan J. Auerbach, John W. Diamond, Harry Grubert, Arnold C. Harberger, Kevin A. Hassett, Thomas J. Kniesner, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Edward J. McCaffery, Kathryn Newmark, David Rapson, Daniel Shaviro, Joel Slemrod, James P. Ziliak, George R. Zodrow

    Discussants James Alm, Henry J. Aaron, Charles L. Ballard, Leonard E. Burman, Robert S. Chirinko, Robert D. Dietz, Malcolm Gillis, Roger H. Gordon, Jane G. Gravelle, Timothy S. Gunning, James M. Poterba, Thomas S. Neubig, Alan Viard, George Yin

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99