Back Renowned tax economist Gabriel Zucman discusses latest research at Departmental Seminar series

Renowned tax economist Gabriel Zucman discusses latest research at Departmental Seminar series

The lecture highlighted the diminishing progressivity of the tax system over time, and discussed the implications for understanding progressivity and evaluating tax reforms



Gabriel Zucman presents his latest research

On March 20th the University of Pompeu Fabra's Department of Economics and Business was honoured to host Gabriel Zucman, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics and Associate Professor of Economics (with tenure) at UC Berkeley, for the latest lecture in its 2023-2024 Departmental Seminar series. Prof. Zucman presented research titled "Distributional Tax Analysis in Theory and Practice: Harberger Meets Diamond-Mirrlees," and engaged with faculty and students on insights into tax systems and reforms.

The working paper, co-authored with Emmanuel Saez (UC Berkeley), proposes an innovative framework to study the distribution of taxes and the effects of tax reforms by integrating classical tax incidence analysis with optimal tax theory. This new approach, which assigns labour taxes to workers, capital taxes to asset owners, and consumption taxes to consumers, contrasts sharply with traditional methods that often shift taxes across production factors. Through their analysis, the authors revealed a significant decline in the effective tax rate for the top 1% in the United States, from approximately 50% in the early 1950s to 32% in 2021, highlighting the diminishing progressivity of the tax system over time. Prof. Zucman's lecture discussed the implications of this framework for understanding tax progressivity and evaluating tax reforms.

Prof. Zucman is the director of the EU Tax Observatory, and is a leading expert on the accumulation, distribution, and taxation of global wealth, as well as tax evasion and the economics of inequality. He recieved his PhD in 2013 from the Paris School of Economics and taught at the London School of Economics before joining UC Berkeley. His doctoral research earned him the French Economic Association's award for the best PhD dissertation in 2014. In his 2015 book "The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens," he developed methods to measure the wealth held in tax havens. Over the years Prof. Zucman's contributions to the field have been recognized with awards, including the Best Young French Economist prize in 2018 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 2023.

The UPF community was privileged to engage with Prof. Zucman during its latest Departmental Seminar series, gaining valuable insights into the complexities of tax systems and the potential for reform. His contributions to the understanding of economic inequality and the mechanisms of tax evasion continue to influence both academic research and public policy debates worldwide.



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