Wharton PPI publishes Issue Briefs tackling concerns that are varied but share one common thread: they are central to the economic health of the nation and the American people. These are nonpartisan, knowledge-driven documents written by Wharton and Penn faculty in their specific areas of expertise.
PublicationThe Issue at the Heart of America’s Great Unbanking(2017-05-01) Servon, LisaConsumer protection regulation targets services like payday lenders under the presumption that these services can be predatory and associated with high costs. Yet an increasing number of Americans are utilizing such alternative financial services and joining the ranks of the “unbanked” and “underbanked.” Altering this status quo and promoting greater middle-class stability will require that policymakers foster innovation in the development of high-quality, transparent, and consumer-oriented financial services within the mainstream banking system. PublicationThe Danger of Crowding Out the Crowd in Equity Crowdfunding(2014-08-01) Mollick, Ethan; Mollick, EthanWith regard to equity crowdfunding, too many policymakers and regulators are focusing their attention on the “funding” piece of crowdfunding, overlooking the fact that the true revolutionary power of crowdfunding lies instead in the crowd. PublicationAs American as Apple Inc.: Corporate Ownership and the Fight for Tax Reform(2016-01-01) PPI, Penn Wharton; PPI, Penn WhartonBoth supporters and critics of the current tax advantages enjoyed by U.S. multinational corporations (MNCs) bolster their arguments with appeals to patriotism: the MNCs and their political supporters argue that allowing inversions or other similar arrangements and instituting another tax holiday for “repatriating” overseas earnings are good for the American economy as a whole; opponents condemn these tax advantages as unpatriotic in depriving the U.S. of enormous sums of needed revenue. But where, precisely, is the “home” to which profits held offshore return? For many purposes, home is where the shareholders are. Determining ownership of U.S. MNCs such as Apple and GE, however, is extremely hard to do. Appeals for policies that promote U.S. competitiveness by presuming U.S. ownership of U.S. incorporated parent companies rest, in the end, on very little. PublicationRegulation and Unemployment(2013-03-01) Coglianese, Cary; Coglianese, CaryIncreasingly, and particularly in response to the recent economic downturn, policy makers have pointed to regulation as a “job killer” and have called for regulatory reform to promote job creation and economic recovery. The empirical research, although limited, reveals a more complex relationship between regulation and jobs, and fails to support the notion that regulation is either a major job killer or a significant job creator. U.S. policy makers should not expect that the nation’s economic woes can be solved by reforming the regulatory process. PublicationA Financial Assessment of Municipal Fiber in the U.S.(2017-05-01) Yoo, Christopher S.; Pfenninger, TimothyIn the interest of bringing high-speed broadband access to communities underserved by current Internet service providers, many U.S. cities have initiated municipal broadband projects. Such efforts have received favorable attention from those eager to help close the digital divide. This brief presents a first look at a new, comprehensive empirical analysis of 20 U.S. municipal fiber builds for which financial data is available. The findings show that half of the projects in this study are cash-flow negative, and based on their performance from 2010-2014, 90 percent are unable to generate sufficient cash to recover their project costs within the 30-40 year life expectancy of a municipal fiber build. City leaders considering such projects, as well as state and federal officials interested in supporting them, need to understand the documented costs and risks before encouraging new municipal fiber programs to form. PublicationShould We Broaden the Fuel Tax Base?(2013-07-01) Marion, JustinCurrently, the rules of fuel taxation in the U.S., like the U.S. tax code more generally, is complex and riddled with inconsistencies. The tax rate applied to carbon-based fuels varies widely depending on the type of fuel, purpose of consumption, and identity of the user. These inconsistencies only invite tax evasion and result in fuel tax revenues that fall short of even covering the costs associated with fuel consumption. Not simply for the sake of environmental policy, but as a matter of deficit reduction, the tax reform concept of base broadening can and should be applied to fuel taxation. Taxing carbon-based fuels more consistently will lead to increased revenues without raising the tax rate. The resultant gain in tax revenue could be as high as $28 billion per year at current levels of fuel consumption. PublicationDo Capital Income Taxes Hinder Growth?(2013-02-01) Sanchirico, Chris W; Sanchirico, Chris WOne of the main arguments against raising capital income tax rates is that doing so discourages savings and investment and hinders economic growth. However, academic research on taxes and growth suggests that this argument has no real basis. And the primary alternatives to capital income taxation — labor income taxes and increased government borrowing — carry their own potentially adverse effects on growth. Available for download at http://ssrn.com/author=2205 PublicationRegulating “Too Big to Fail”(2013-04-01) Smetters, Kent; Smetters, Kent; Pericak, ChristopherThe Dodd-Frank Act does not provide sufficient protection against another major financial crisis. A better regulatory system would promote financial stability by correcting the key market failures that lead to excessive risk taking by Strategically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs). Regulatory policies centered on contingent capital would offer a clearer and purer market signal when a SIFI is performing poorly and trigger steps to mitigate the financial risks. PublicationTaxation of Business Income(2013-01-01) Blouin, Jennifer L; Blouin, Jennifer LAs U.S. legislators struggle to balance the fiscal budget, tax reform and business income tax, often emerges at the forefront of the discussion. Not all business income is taxed the same, creating great challenges in the design of new tax policy. The implications arising from the different ways in which corporate and non-corporate entities are taxed needs to be understood in order to anticipate how changes in tax policy could affect businesses and their tax obligations.