Shrinking the Tax Gap: Approaches and Revenue Potential

January 15th, 2020

Between 2020 and 2029, the IRS will fail to collect nearly $7.5 trillion of taxes it is due. It is not possible to calculate with precision how much of this “tax gap” could be collected. This paper offers a naïve approach. The analysis suggests that with feasible changes in policy, the IRS could aspire to shrink the tax gap by around 15 percent in the next decade—generating over $1 trillion in additional revenue by performing more audits (especially of high-income earners), increasing information reporting requirements, and investing in information technology. These investments will increase efficiency and are likely to be very progressive.

NBER Working Paper No. 26475 with Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers
November 2019

Whither Central Banking?

January 10th, 2020

In an environment of secular stagnation in the developed economies, central bankers’ ingenuity in loosening monetary policy is exactly what is not needed. What is needed are admissions of impotence, in order to spur efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means.

Aug 23, 2019 Lawrence H. Summers, Anna Stansbury in Project Syndicate