Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Preview of Literature and Inequality

Most of the book's first 49 pages can be viewed for free here.

The Amazon Kindle version and preview aren't up yet, but I hope soon. The B&N Nook version appears to be live.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Fall 2020 NYU Tax Policy Colloquium

At this point, we obviously do not know what the fall 2020 semester will look like, be it at NYU Law School or anywhere else. But the possibilities surely include its taking place more or less as normal, or else perhaps via Zoom.

In any event, the schedule was 99% set when the coronavirus stoppage got rolling, so I figured, why not take the last couple of steps to complete it.

I should note that I don't yet know for sure who will be my co-convenor. That, actually, was up in the air even before the transformation.

Anyway, with full hopes (whether or not confidence) that this will actually happen, here is what we hope to have on tap:


(All sessions meet from 4:00-5:50 pm in Vanderbilt 208, NYU Law School)

1.     Tuesday, August 25 – Steven Dean, NYU Law School
2.     Tuesday, September 1 – Daniel Shaviro, NYU Law School
3.     Tuesday, September 8  – Natasha Sarin, University of Pennsylvania Law School
4.     Tuesday, September 15 – Adam Kern, Princeton Politics Department and NYU Law School

5.     Tuesday, September 22 – Henrik Kleven, Princeton Economics Department
6.     Tuesday, September 29 – Leandra Lederman, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
7.     Tuesday, October 6 – Michelle Hanlon, MIT Sloan School of Management
8.     Tuesday, October 13 – Steve Rosenthal, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
9.     Tuesday, October 20 –Michelle Layser, University of Illinois College of Law

10.  Tuesday, October 27 – Clinton Wallace, University of South Carolina School of Law
11.  Tuesday, November 10 – Owen Zidar, Princeton Economics Department
12.  Tuesday, November 17Abdoulaye Ndiaye, NYU Stern Business School
13.  Tuesday, November 24 – Lilian Faulhaber, Georgetown Law School
14.  Tuesday, December 1 – Erin Scharff, Arizona State Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

My book Literature and Inequality is now live

I realize that such things seem trivial right now, but my new book Literature and Inequality has now gone live, as per the Anthem Press link here and the Amazon link here.

UPDATE: Barnes and Noble has a better price for Literature and Inequality.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Remarks from 2019 Fordham international tax conference

Sometime back in October 2019, Fordham Law School hosted a symposium entitled "The Future of the New International Tax Regime." Remarks (including mine) from the session, which featured a number of well-known international tax scholars, have now been printed in physical form by the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, and are also available online.

You can find the full proceedings here. My remarks are at pages 250-258 if you go by the numbered physical pages, aka pages 33-41 within the posted file.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Literature and Inequality book launch, cover art

With events being canceled all over the place, I realized that it was time to make things official, and scrap the once-firm plans for the following book event:

New York University School of Law
invites you to a discussion of
Literature and Inequality: Nine Perspectives from the Napoleonic Era Through the First Gilded Age (Anthem Press)
with author
Daniel N. Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation
Branko Milanovic, Stone Center Senior Scholar, Visiting Presidential Professor
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law
Monday, April 13, 4:30 p.m.

All things permitting, including in particular the state of life here more generally, I anticipate this event's being rescheduled for the fall.

Meanwhile, here is an advance look at the book's cover art:

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

New article (coming soon) on minimum taxes

I've just completed a new article draft, entitled "What Are Minimum Taxes, and Why Might One Favor or Disfavor Them?" It addresses, among other topics:

(1) the purposive, technical, and semantic contours of what the term "minimum tax" is generally used to mean, along with the reasons why these matter - relating, for example, to the creation of clientele effects and discontinuous marginal incentives,

(2 the lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of the alternative minimum tax (AMT),

(3) the Biden versus Warren design question of whether, if one gave tax consequences to highly profitable companies' financial statement accounting income, this should involve the use of a minimum tax structure or a standalone structure,

(4) the relationship between avowed minimum taxes and provisions, such as loss nonrefundability and applying foreign tax credit limitations, that set a zero percent floor on a particular tax rate,

(5) the issues posed by global minimum taxes, including GILTI in U.S. law and the OECD's recent GloBE minimum tax proposal.

In general I am quite skeptical about minimum taxes, although there may at times be optical or political economy reasons for preferring them to a given, limited set of realistically available alternatives.

I'll post it on SSRN soon, but probably not until I get some feedback from presenting it. The problem with posting too soon is that some of one's readership looks at it too early, before it's been improved. Barring travel restrictions from the coronavirus, I'll be presenting it at the Critical Tax Conference in Gainesville, FL, on April 3 or 4, and then at the Maurer Law School's 2020 Tax Policy Colloquium (in Bloomington, IN) on April 9. Also possibly in Oxford this summer, if international travel is feasible.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Discussion of the 2017 U.S. tax act at the Columbia Business School

Last night, I was a panelist at the Columbia Business School's Richman Center for a discussion of the 2017 U.S. tax act. The moderator was Jesse Green, and the other panelists were Stephan Eilers and Joseph Stiglitz.

The Richman Center will shortly be posting the session on video, and I have posted an approximate version of my remarks here.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Embracing (or not) new technologies

I made the transition to Kindle long ago, a format that many whom I know have resisted. I still read physical books too, but I find the Kindle format (on an iPad) reasonably manageable. Plus:

(1) books that interest me go on sale periodically on Kindle (reflecting the zero marginal cost to the seller), so if you're patient then pounce it can work well,

(2) I don't have to further crowd the shelves of my home library (I have an old school aversion to throwing books out),

(3) I can stand reading it on my iPhone in the subway, and

(4) it's nice to be able to go on vacation and have dozens of choices at hand without cramming one's suitcase.

But I hadn't tried audiobooks, until the last few days, when I've started using Audible. The draws were:

(1) it's free for a month, and I can ditch it after that if it isn't working for me,

(2) you get two free books when you start, then I think one a month. So I can get things that I've had on my patient-then-pounce list for months or years, and

(3) when I'm at the health club, it can be hard finding music that I want to listen to right at that moment. (I'm an album person, reflecting the technology of my youth, so I don't go much for letting Spotify choose.)

But I don't know yet if Audible will work for me. I've started on Jon Clinch's quite delightful novel, Marley. But I miss small things in the narrative, and seem reluctant to go back 30 seconds, as it lets you do. I've always known what's generally happening, but the details of his often flashy (in a good way) writing sometimes speed by me unapprehended.

Being at a noisy health club with headphones, and peddling away on a mechanical device while giant TV screens loom in front of one's eyes, admittedly isn't the ideal way to focus on a book. It might work better to listen while driving long distances, but as a New Yorker I don't do that. Perhaps while walking? (This being something that New Yorkers, myself included, do a lot.) But it's under 10 minutes to work (not to complain), and the last couple of days have simply been too cold anyway.

One rather obvious thing about reading is that, if you like, you can actually read every single word. Indeed, if you want to and the book is well-written, you can even pause every now and then to savor things. Audible is not well-suited for that. But then again, it can potentially expand my reading horizons by a few hours a week, as well perhaps as making health club visits feel shorter.

Will I stay or will I go; don't know yet.

Cover art for "Literature and Inequality"

The cover art for my forthcoming (April 1) Anthem Press book, Literature and Inequality, is now set. It's a public domain image of a caricature of Charles T. Yerkes (aka Frank Cowperwood in Dreiser's The Financier and The Titan) that was drawn in 1905 by Max Beerbohm. You can see it here.

I had been intrigued by the idea of using, for the cover, the image you can see at the far right here, but couldn't determine where the rights to it might reside.