Introduction to Tax Notes International 34, no. 13 (2004)

James R. Hines Jr., University of Michigan Law School

Reprinted with the permission of Tax Analysts.


There is now considerable interest in the state of international tax competition, its implications for economic performance, and appropriate policy stances for governments to adopt. That interest has a public side and a research side. The public side is reflected in pronouncements by public figures of all political stripes, informing listeners of what are deemed to be good and bad developments in tax policy around the world, and what might be favorable new courses for governments to chart. The research side looks different: It is characterized by the gradual accumulation of theories and evidence of international tax practice, and while there is much left to learn about the formation and impact of international tax policies, consensus views on some important issues, informed by the latest research, have already emerged. Despite the research advances of the last 20 years and their clear implications for tax policy, there is often little connection between the research and public sides of international tax policy. Consequently, little of the public discussion of international tax policy issues has been informed by up-to-date thinking on the likely implications of tax policies for taxpayers, treasuries, and economies.