EconPol Policy Briefs

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 35

Taxing the Residual Profit of Multinational Enterprises: A Critique of Formulaic Apportionment and a Proposal

Wolfram F. Richter (TU Dortmund University, CESifo Munich, IWH Halle, IZA Bonn)

In the context of a changed digital economy, the OECD has put forward a proposal that requires large multinational companies to pay some of their income taxes where revenue is generated; i.e. in countries where the consumers or users are located. It is suggested that taxing rights should be allocated using a revenue-based formula. This policy brief argues against the use of such a rule that requires the multilateral assessment of MNEs’ worldwide profit. The need to define a common consolidated tax base would disproportionately complicate the search for po-litical agreement within the Inclusive Framework. Instead, the OECD should apply more practical rules that rely on unilateral profit splitting and do not require uniform international rules on ac-counting. Countries could be granted the right to impose a withholding tax on outbound pay-ments, such as payments for digital services. To the extent that there are allocable costs, as for example with pharmaceuticals and vaccines, these should be tax-deductible on the condition that the country receiving the payments adopt the new tax regime.  

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How Fast Must Vaccination Campaigns Proceed in Order to Beat Rising Covid-19 Infection Numbers?

Claudius Gros (Goethe University Frankfurt), Daniel Gros (EconPol Europe, CEPS)

Facing a third Covid-19 outbreak in the spring of 2021 a central question for European policymakers is at what point a vaccination campaign has acquired sufficient speed to overcome the increase in infections, so as to justify lifting NPIs at least partially. The authors of this study derive an expression for a critical threshold that is shaped by three factors: First, the mortality risk from a Covid-19 infection increases exponentially with age. Second, the sizes of age cohorts decrease linearly at the top of the population pyramid. And third, vaccination proceeds at an increasing speed. The study finds that it is easier for countries with a comparatively young population and fast vaccination programs to reach this critical threshold than for countries with an older population and slower vaccination programs. An important conclusion of the research is, that slow vaccination hurts twice: The number of vaccinated people increases only at a slow rate. But it also means that vaccination programs’ ability to control aggressive new Covid-19 strains is strongly reduced. 

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Incentives for Accelerating the Production of Covid-19 Vaccines in the Presence of Adjustment Costs

Claudius Gros (Goethe University Frankfurt), Daniel Gros (EconPol Europe, CEPS)

Delays in the availability of vaccines are very costly for society but existing fixed price contracts provide no incentives for producers to speed up delivery: a dose delivered tomorrow receives the same price as a dose delivered in the next quarter. The benefits for early delivery are huge for society, but non-existent for suppliers. A better contract would have the price fully  variable over time. In this policy brief, the authors show that it is straightforward to design an optimal contract, which aligns the time paths of the price with that of the social value of a vaccination. There is a clear policy conclusion: contracts should contain incentives for accelerated production. Vaccines delivered early should command a higher price.

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EU27 and the UK: Product Dependencies and the Implications of Brexit

Lisandra Flach (EconPol Europe, LMU Munich and ifo Institute), Feodora Teti (EconPol Europe, LMU Munich and ifo Institute), Lena Wiest (EconPol Europe, University of Tübingen and ifo Institute) and Margherita Atzei (EconPol Europe, University of St. Gallen and ifo Institute)

The decision of the UK to leave the EU imposes a key challenge for trade relations and, depending on the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, will cause severe increases in bilateral trade costs. The experience from former crises has shown that disruptions caused by negative shocks are more severe in case of highly dependent goods, which are sourced from few suppliers. This report provides an overview on product dependencies between EU27 and the UK and uncovers several stylized facts. It shows that, whereas for most of the EU27 countries less than 10% of the highly dependent goods are sourced from the UK, the majority of UK’s imports of highly dependent goods are sourced from countries in the EU27. However, for both, the UK and the EU27, Brexit imposes challenges for supply chains, as in both cases most of these goods are classified as intermediate goods, which are used as input for final production in the destination country. For those goods, uncertainty and rising costs due to Brexit may cause an additional distress on supply chains.

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The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on European Businesses: Evidence from Surveys in Austria, Germany and Spain

Raquel García (SIMPLE LÓGICA, Madrid), Christian Gayer (European Commission DG ECFIN), Werner Hölzl (WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna), Sergio Payo (Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo), Andreas Reuter (European Commission DG ECFIN), Klaus Wohlrabe (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo)

A survey of German, Spanish and Austrian firms in the industry, services, retail trade and construction sectors finds that the overwhelming majority expect a negative impact of the corona-crisis on annual turnover (to the tune of 20% in Germany and Austria and 25-44% in Spain). The sub-sectors hardest hit are manufacturing of consumer durables and investment goods, services in the field of tourism and gastronomy and retailers selling neither food nor beverages. If confinement measures aren't lifted or countered by appropriate policy support, say the survey's authors Raquel García (SIMPLE LÓGICA, Madrid), Christian Gayer (European Commission DG ECFIN), Werner Hölzl (WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna), Sergio Payo (Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo), Andreas Reuter (European Commission DG ECFIN) and Klaus Wohlrabe (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo), the prevailing confinement measures will cause insolvencies or bankruptcies of 30-50% of all businesses by the end of July, rising to 50-80% by October.

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