Ernesto Crivelli, Ruud A. de Mooij, J. E. J. De Vrijer, Mr. Shafik Hebous, and Mr. Alexander D Klemm
This paper aims to contribute to the European policy debate on corporate income tax reform in three ways. First, it takes a step back to review the performance of the CIT in Europe over the past several decades and the important role played by MNEs in European economies. Second, it analyses corporate tax spillovers in Europe with a focus on the channels and magnitudes of both profit shifting and CIT competition. Third, the paper examines the progress made in European CIT coordination and discusses reforms to strengthen the harmonization of corporate tax policies, in order to effectively reduce both tax competition and profit shifting.
Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mai Chi Dao, Mr. Andreas A. Jobst, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Ms. Srobona Mitra, and Mahmood Pradhan
This paper evaluates the impact of the crisis on European banks’ capital under a range of macroeconomic scenarios, using granular data on the size and riskiness of sectoral exposures. The analysis incorporates the important role of pandemic-related policy support, including not only regulatory relief for banks, but also policies to support businesses and households, which act to shield the financial sector from the real economic shock.
Using cross-country national accounts and firm-level data, we document a broad-based trend in rising gross saving and net lending of non-financial corporates across major industrialized countries over the last two decades, though most pronounced in countries with persistent current account surpluses. We find that this trend holds consistently across major industries, and is concentrated among large firms, driven by rising profitability, lower financing costs, and reduced tax rates. At the same time, higher gross corporate saving have not supported a commensurate increase in fixed capital investment, but instead led to a build-up of liquid financial assets (cash). The determinants of corporate cash holding and saving are also broad-based across countries, with the growth in assets of large firms, R&D intensity, and lower effective tax rates accounting for most of the increase over the last 15 years.
This Selected Issues paper discusses the impact of workforce aging on productivity in the euro area. The euro area population has aged considerably over the past few decades, and the process is expected to accelerate in the years ahead. At the same time, labor productivity growth in the euro area has been sluggish, posing risks to long-term growth prospects. It is estimated that workforce aging could significantly retard total factor productivity (TFP) growth over the medium to long term. Given current demographic projections from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the aging of the workforce in the euro area could lower TFP growth by about 0.2 percentage points each year between 2014 and 2035. Appropriate policies can, however, mitigate the adverse effects of aging.
Japan’s high corporate savings might be holding back growth. We focus on the causes and consequences of the current corporate behavior and suggest options for reform. In particular, Japan’s weak corporate governance—as measured by available indexes—might be contributing to high cash holdings. Our empirical analysis on a panel of Japanese firms confirms that improving corporate governance would help unlock corporate savings. The main policy implication of our analysis is that comprehensive corporate governance reform should be a key component of Japan’s growth strategy.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the youth unemployment problem in advanced European economies, especially the euro area. Youth unemployment rates increased sharply in the euro area after the crisis. Much of these increases can be explained by output dynamics and the greater sensitivity of youth unemployment to economic activity compared with adult unemployment. Labor market institutions also play an important role, especially the tax wedge, minimum wages, and spending on active labor market policies. The paper highlights that policies to address youth unemployment should be comprehensive and country specific, focusing on reviving growth and implementing structural reforms.
Yishay Yafeh, Mr. Kenichi Ueda, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
Financial frictions have been identified as key factors affecting economic fluctuations and growth. But, can institutional reforms reduce financial frictions? Based on a canonical investment model, we consider two potential channels: (i) financial transaction costs at the firm level; and (ii) required return at the country level. We empirically investigate the effects of institutions on these financial frictions using a panel of 75,000 firm-years across 48 countries for the period 1990 - 2007. We find that improved corporate governance (e.g., less informational problems) and enhanced contractual enforcement reduce financial frictions, while stronger creditor rights (e.g., lower collateral constraints) are less important.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on Japan’s public debt and the challenges facing small- and medium-size enterprises in Japan. Historically, Japan’s public debt has been financed in a fairly smooth manner. The large pool of household savings and the stable domestic institutional investor base appear to have contributed to this successful experience. However, Japan is already undergoing rapid population aging, which will likely limit the market’s future absorptive capacity of public debt. In addition, structural shifts in institutional investors could also serve to reduce market demand.
The objective of this paper is to provide a retrospective assessment of our ability to have predicted the impact of the 1997 crisis on the Korean corporate sector. We perform some simple stress tests on the aggregate balance sheets and income statements of the corporate sector to determine what could have been foreseen before the onset of the crisis. Our results show that data available in mid-1997 clearly showed that the corporate sector was very sensitive to various shocks, particularly interest rate shocks. Had stress tests been performed at the time, they would have revealed that the corporate sector was highly vulnerable to adverse economic developments. Our findings suggest that close surveillance of corporate sector balance sheets can play a useful role in understanding potential financial vulnerabilities.
The recent boom-bust cycle in the euro area's equity valuations has left nonfinancial corporations saddled with a legacy of high debt or leverage. Models of corporate investment behavior based on imperfect capital markets predict that highly leveraged balance sheets can act as a brake on investment spending. The paper's empirical analysis suggests that leverage effects on corporate investment can be substantial and persistent, particularly if leverage exceeds threshold values.