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Tax

This Tax Makes All Other Taxes Redundant (Part II)

In the Netherlands, the government is trying to combat the housing crisis with more subsidies for first time house buyers. But this will only make prices go up even more. There is a better solution, which would make housing cheaper for everyone: a land value tax. But as long as homeowners are in the majority, no politician dares to burn its fingers on this idea.

This Tax Makes All Other Taxes Redundant

On a lazy Sunday morning I managed to get my son Miran (9) and his friend Tinus (10), who lives next door to us, to play a game of Monopoly. They were not very enthusiastic at first; they find the game boring and predictable. The player who can build houses first quickly gets ahead in the game. Especially if he reinvests the money he earns in new houses. For the others, it’s hard to catch up. The winner accumulates piles of money, the other players are broke and frustrated. There’s hardly any strategy involved. It’s just a matter of being lucky or unlucky.

The current housing market in the Netherlands looks a lot like a Monopoly game. If you bought a house at the right time, your wealth is growing. If you don’t own a house yet, it is almost impossible to get in on this wealth growth.

The Public Finance Effects of the Italian Ghost Buildings Program

Does informality hold back tax progressivity, that is, the capacity to tax the rich at a higher rate than the poor? The optimal (and fair) distribution of the tax burden has long been a key issue in both academic and policy circles.

In a new paper, I study whether reducing informality by tackling tax evasion leads policy makers to increase statutory tax progressivity. I take advantage of the Italian “Ghost Buildings” program, which is a policy that identified buildings not registered in the land registry.