Monday, March 27, 2017

Taxation Without Information: Using data and design to compare corruption and transparency

Could Australia be cash free as early as 2020? - ABC


AdamsEdward Adams, Howard E. Buhse Professor of Finance and Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, has been indicted for stealing $4.4 million from investors and paying $2.5 million to his own law firm.

Last week, Daniel Hemel (Chicago) reviews a new paper by Wei Cui (University of British Columbia), Taxation Without Information: The Institutional Foundations of Modern Tax Collection.
HemelWei Cui’s new paper, Taxation Without Information: The Institutional Foundations of Modern Tax Collection, challenges the now-conventional wisdom that effective tax collection depends upon third party reporting. Cui suggests that effective tax collection in fact depends upon the existence of business firms for whom compliance with the law—tax as well as non-tax—is the norm. Cui argues that this insight should lead us to rethink our assumptions not only about modern tax collection, but also about modern business firms: “we should stop thinking of business firms as ‘fiscal intermediaries,’” Cui writes, and instead “conceive of firms as sites of social cooperation under the rule of law” (p. 3).
Cui’s paper is ambitious, important, and—I think—largely right. He has persuaded me that third party reporting is not nearly as integral to tax collection as I previously believed. If there is a weak point in his argument, it is this: the evidence he produces in support of his “social cooperation” theory is equally consistent with the claim that business firms facilitate legal compliance precisely because they failto engender close cooperation among their members.

Storybench article: “With Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks happening this week, questions of conflicts of interest and financial disclosure are top of mind. Northeastern University journalism professors John Wihbey and Mike Beaudet, along with Information Design and Visualization professorPedro Cruz and graduate student Irene de la Torre Arenas, recently published an analysis and visualization comparing the extent of corruption and transparency at the state level. “The State Financial Disclosure Project,” which was referenced today in The Washington Post and last October in an op-ed in The New York Times, marries the complex investigation of accountability in state politics with the creative, representational side of information design. “What we did was try and show the relationship between transparency and corruption across the 50 U.S. states "

Berkman Klein Center – Development Initiatives – Challenges & Opportunities Concerning Corporate Formation, Nonprofit Status, & Governance for Open Source Projects. March 22, 2017

“Federal government statistics provide critical information to the country and serve a key role in a democracy. For decades, sample surveys with instruments carefully designed for particular data needs have been one of the primary methods for collecting data for federal statistics. However, the costs of conducting such surveys have been increasing while response rates have been declining, and many surveys are not able to fulfill growing demands for more timely information and for more detailed information at state and local levels. Innovations in Federal Statistics examines the opportunities and risks of using government administrative and private sector data sources to foster a paradigm shift in federal statistical programs that would combine diverse data sources in a secure manner to enhance federal statistics. This first publication of a two-part series discusses the challenges faced by the federal statistical system and the foundational elements needed for a new paradigm