Tax Inertia: A General Framework with Specific Application to Business Tax Reform

Chris William Sanchirico, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School & Wharton School


A surprising degree of bipartisan consensus has lately formed in the United States around two propositions of business tax reform: that something should be done about the “lockout” of US multinationals’ foreign earnings; and that the corporate income tax rate should be reduced. This paper questions whether these two propositions are really consistent. In the process of attempting to provide an answer, it develops a framework for relating and measuring various forms of “tax inertia”: tax-based disincentives to alter investments. Applying this framework, the paper concludes that the current agreement on business tax reform is substantially in disagreement with itself.