Advancing the Evaluation of Tax Reforms

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Empirical evaluation of tax reforms is vital to the efficient and fair design of tax systems. However, the study of past tax reforms has been constrained by the lack of internationally comparable data on important details of such reforms. The IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department is filling this gap by presenting a unique new database, comprising granular information on tax reforms for 23 advanced and emerging market economies over several decades. It will allow researchers, both in- and outside the IMF, to explore important tax policy questions

For questions regarding the conference, please email



Light Breakfast


Welcoming Remarks

Vitor Gaspar, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF


Overview of Database and Key Findings

Tax policy is under constant reform. The study of past reforms and their impact is crucial to gauge the effect of future reforms and develop informed advice on viable reform directions. The new tax reforms dataset will facilitate analytical work in this area by offering detailed and comparable information on tax policy changes across a long-time horizon for a wide set of countries.

  • Overview by Michael Keen (FAD)
  • Presentation of the database and live demo by Valerio Crispolti (IMF)

Coffee break


Tax Reforms and Growth

In an environment of low interest rates and constrained monetary policy, fiscal policy has been called on to play a much more active role in stabilization. Lessons from historical tax reform experiences can help shed light on the effectiveness of different policies in supporting growth.

Chair: Era Dabla-Norris, IMF


Lunch (by invitation only)


Spillovers from Tax Policy Reform

There is considerable interest from governments in the international spillover effects of corporate tax reform, with an active role played by the IMF in these debates. The nature and size of spillovers can potentially be assessed in novel ways using the newly established database, informing the ongoing policy debate on the design of the international tax architecture.

Chair: Ruud de Mooij, IMF


Coffee break


Behavioral and Financial Market Responses to Tax Reforms

Tax reforms change agents’ behavior, which needs to be taken into account when estimating their revenue impacts (“dynamic scoring”). Estimating these responses requires controlling for all changes in the tax system, including changes to the tax base in addition to tax rates.

Chair: Victoria Perry, IMF


Coffee break


Panel Discussion on Tax Reforms

Current debates on tax reform across several countries expose diverse views among stakeholders about the impact of reform. They also reveal a number of alternative methods that can be used to assess the effects of policy changes on economic activity and revenue performance. How should tax policy reforms be evaluated, to adequately account for both growth and revenue effects?

Chair: Vitor Gaspar, IMF

  • Thomas A. Barthold (JCT)
  • Leonard Burman (Tax Policy Center)
  • Girogia Maffini (OECD)
  • Joel Slemrod (University of Michigan)
  • Carlos Vegh (World Bank)

Dinner (by invitation only)