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  • Author: Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: : In this issue of showCASE our economist discusses the role of cities and regions in climate negotiations, which since COP21 in 2015 has indeed been growing. Will the incoming COP25 in Madrid (2–13 December) further strengthen cities and regions in fight against climate change? As the author argues, for the upcoming COP presidency, lying a strong foundation for climate action and subnational parties’ engagement in post2020 reality could become the biggest success.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adam Śmietanka, Alejandro Esteller Moré, Grzegorz Poniatowski, José María Durán-Cabré, Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: This Report has been prepared for the European Commission, DG TAXUD under contract TAXUD/2017/DE/329, “Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States” and serves as a follow-up to the six reports published between 2013 and 2018. This Study contains new estimates of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Gap for 2017, as well as updated estimates for 2013-2016. As a novelty in this series of reports, so called “fast VAT Gap estimates” are also presented the year immediately preceding the analysis, namely for 2018. In addition, the study reports the results of the econometric analysis of VAT Gap determinants initiated and initially reported in the 2018 Report (Poniatowski et al., 2018). It also scrutinises the Policy Gap in 2017 as well as the contribution that reduced rates and exemptions made to the theoretical VAT revenue losses. In 2017, growth in the European Union (EU) continued to accelerate with a combined real GDP growth of 2.5 percent, providing a sound environment for an increase in VAT collections. As a result, VAT revenue increased in all Member States (MS). An increase in the base was the main, but not the only, source for growth. Increase in compliance contributed to an approximate 1.1% increase in VAT revenue. In nominal terms, in 2017, the VAT Gap in EU-28 MS fell to EUR 137.5 billion, down from EUR 145.4 billion. In relative terms, the VAT Gap share of the VAT total tax liability (VTTL) dropped to 11.2 percent in 2017 and is the lowest value in the analysed period of 2013-2017. Fast estimates for 2018 indicate that the downward trend will continue and that VAT Gap will likely fall below EUR 130 billion in 2018. Of the EU-28, the VAT Gap as percentage of the VTTL decreased in 25 countries and increased in three. The biggest declines in the VAT Gap occurred in Malta, Poland, and Cyprus. The smallest Gaps were observed in Cyprus (0.6 percent), Luxembourg (0.7 percent), and Sweden (1.5 percent). The largest Gaps were registered in Romania (35.5 percent), Greece (33.6 percent), and Lithuania (25.3 percent). Overall, half of EU-28 MS recorded a Gap above 10.1 percent (see Figure 2.2 and Table 2.1). The Policy Gaps and its components remained stable. The average Policy Gap level was 44.5 percent, out of which 9.6 percentage points are due to the application of various reduced and super-reduced rates instead of standard rates (the Rate Gap). The countries with the most flat levels of rates in the EU, according to the Rate Gap, are Denmark (0.8 percent) and Estonia (3 percent). On the other side of spectrum are Cyprus (29.6 percent), Malta (16.5 percent), and Poland (14.6 percent). The Exemption Gap, or the average share of Ideal Revenue lost due to various exemptions, is, on average, 35 percent in the EU, whereas the Actionable Policy Gap – a combination of the Rate Gap and the Actionable Exemption Gap – is, on average, 13 percent of the Notional Ideal Revenue. The econometric analysis repeated after the 2017 Study confirmed the earlier results. We observe that the dispersion of tax rates and unemployment rate have a positive impact on the VAT Gap. Regarding the variables in hands of the administration, on the extended times series compared to the previous year, our results suggest that the nature of the expenditure of the administration, in particular IT expenditure, is more important that the amount of the overall resources.
  • Topic: Economy, Economic growth, Tax Systems, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Grzegorz Poniatowski, Izabela Styczynska, Karolina Beaumont, Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: EuroPACE is an innovative tool designed to make home renovation simple, affordable and reliable for all Europeans by combining affordable financing with people-centric technical assistance. EuroPACE offers 100% up-front financing that can be repaid over a long term of up to 25 years. The innovation lies in the collection and repayment mechanism – financing is attached to the property and is repaid regularly with charges linked to a property. Homeowners are offered logistical and technical support throughout the process and access to trained and qualified con-tractors. Thus, EuroPACE overcomes the main barriers to home renovation – lack of financing, technical knowledge and complexity of the works. The concept of EuroPACE is inspired by the success of a financing model called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), launched in California in 2008. In the United States (US), the PACE market reached over USD 6 billion in funded projects, including the retrofit of over 220,000 homes, which resulted in more than 50,000 new local jobs and the creation of hundreds new companies.EuroPACE combines the best practices from the US PACE market with project partners’ substantial experience in improving energy efficiency in European buildings. EuroPACE is a three-year project that intends to assess market readiness, deploy a pilot programme in Spain and scale across Europe to four leader cities. A two-phase research (firstly – legal & fiscal readiness, and secondly – market demand) has been carried to assess the overall readiness for adaptation of this model across the European Union (EU). This document is the second phase of the EuroPACE readiness assessment developed to identify European countries most suited for EuroPACE implementation. It complements the legal and fiscal assessment by focusing on the “demand dimension” by analysing local needs for energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy sources (RES) in residential building renovation of seven selected countries. Based on the results of legal and fiscal analysis of the EU28 MS, in October 2018 the Steering Committee Group of the EuroPACE Horizon2020 (H2020) project chose seven countries: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Romania, for the second phase of evaluation. These countries were selected based on the scoring outlined in D2.1 and two additional considerations developed by the Steering Committee Group. First, a diverse geo-graphical distribution of the countries was an important element for the selection of these seven countries. Secondly, the knowledge and expertise of the Steering Committee Group about the national potential market opportunity was taken into consideration during the selection process. While in Austria a similar mechanism has already been tested but was unsuccessful, the country still has been chosen for further analysis. In Belgium, despite being a federal state, there is a strong local and regional interest in new financial mechanisms designed to upscale residential retrofits across the country. In the Netherlands, asset-based financial instruments are currently being discussed at the national level, which opens a window of opportunity for EuroPACE to be tested in the country. As for Italy, although the property-taxation system is far from stable, potential synergies with successful programmes like Ecobonus or Sismabonus should be explored. In Poland, nearly 70% of the 6-million residential buildings need significant energy efficiency overhaul; these buildings contribute to some of the worst air quality across the EU leading to approximately 47 thousand premature deaths annually. Portugal, given its Mediterranean climate, proves a great potential not only for EE, but also prosumer RES development, given that current incentives are far from sufficient. Romania has been chosen mainly because of its highest home-ownership rate across the EU and the most institutionalised property-related taxation, possibly setting a stable base for EuroPACE being collected alongside existing charges.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Fiscal Policy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, European Union
  • Author: Izabela Styczynska, Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: EuroPACE is an innovative financial mechanism inspired by an American building improvement initiative called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). The innovative character of the EuroPACE mechanism is that financing through EuroPACE is linked to the taxes paid on a property. In other words, the financing lent by a private investor is repaid through property taxes and other charges related to the buildings. EuroPACE is therefore in line with the EC’s objectives of (1) putting EE first, (2) contributing to the EU’s global leadership, and (3) empowering consumers to enable MS to reach their energy and climate targets for 2030. Last but not least, EuroPACE could contribute to the democratisation of the energy supply by offering cash-flow positive, decentralised EE solutions. The EuroPACE mechanism engages several stakeholders in the process: local government, investors, equipment installers, and homeowners. To establish the EuroPACE programme, several conditions must be satisfied, each of which are relevant for different stakeholder at different stages of the implementation. For the purpose of this report, we divided these criteria into two categories: key criteria, which make the implementation possible, and complementary criteria, which make the implementation easier. For the time being, it is a pure hypothesis to be tested with potential EuroPACE implementation. One ought to remember that residential on-tax financing is a concept in its infancy in the EU. Therefore, the methodology to evaluate the readiness of a country to implement on-tax financing is complex and consists of six stages:Identification of fiscal and regulatory conditions; Data collection; Weighting; Grading; Country SWOT analysis; Qualitative assessment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Economy, Tax Systems, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Twenty years of euro history confirms the euro’s stability and position as the second global currency. It also enjoys the support of majority of the euro area population and is seen as a good thing for the European Union. The European Central Bank has been successful in keeping inflation at a low level. However, the European debt and financial crisis in the 2010s created a need for deep institutional reform and this task remains unfinished.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, European Union, Economy, Economic growth, Fiscal Policy, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Andrzej Halesiak, Ernest Pytlarczyk, Mariusz Wieckowski, Stefan Kawalec
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: In a properly functioning economy, finance has important role to play in making main sectors of the economy – production, trade, services – to thrive. One of the most important – and often unappreciated – channels by which finance affects the processes taking place in the real sector is the selection of investment projects. It is banks and financial intermediaries that to a great degree decide which projects are carried out in the economy at a given moment, and which are not. If financial institutions are excessively conservative (which today is often an effect of the tight regulatory environment), they will prefer low-risk projects with high levels of collateral (e.g. mortgage loans). A financial system oriented this way will rarely be a source of problems, but at the same time not inclined to finance innovative projects with high potential to benefit the economy. Thus for any economy, a very important question is whether its regulatory framework smartly balances both of these aspects: financial system safety and the need to take on risk. When analyzing the functioning of the financial system, it’s worth noting the gradual blurring of certain traditional boundaries. While decades ago households were the main source of savings in the economy, and the borrowers were enterprises and the public sector, today both households and companies are on both sides, as suppliers and receivers of capital. The boundary between the functioning of banks and capital markets is also increasingly blurred. Today banks operate broadly through the capital market, both as acquirers of securities and as issuers. One area that has been developing dynamically in recent years is the flow of financial resources bypassing traditional intermediaries: direct lending through the peer-to-peer (P2P - direct financing of a project by business partners) and crowdfunding platforms (fundraising by collecting money online).
  • Topic: Demographics, GDP, Financial Markets, Economy, Banks, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Adam Adamczyk, Leszek Morawski, Jarek Neneman
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: For many years, we have been hearing about the need for innovation and entrepreneurship. Successive Polish government declare their support for entrepreneurs and expand the catalog of privileges, mainly related to taxes and mandatory contributions. Not infrequently, in these discussions the self-employed are equated with entrepreneurs. In this work, we will seek an answer to the questions: Who, then, are the self-employed? Are they really entrepreneurs? Should we support their activities? And finally the fundamental question: What does the economy get from the self-employed? In this work we point out that the differences in rates of self-employment between countries may result from differences in taxation on the labor provided by self-employed and salaried workers. In the main part of the work, taking advantage of the potential of the EUROMOD tax-benefit microsimulation model, we show that in Europe there is no single model of taxation of work conducted as one’s own business. In the majority of the tax-contribution systems we examined, the profitability of employment or self-employment changes along with changes in income. In light of the regressivity of the burdens on the self-employed, as a rule it begins to be profitable only above a certain income level. In the first part of the work we define the self-employed as those who run a business, and later we distinguish within this group entrepreneurs, meaning those who take on risk and create innovations. Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment from the point of view of the self employed and the employer, we point out that the benefits – including systemic (tax and contribution) benefits, outweigh the disadvantages. We also discuss in more detail the imposition of income tax on the self-employed. In the second part we present changes in the value of self-employment over the last 25 years. Here we use data from the World Bank and certain data points from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). They allow us to observe how the relationship between the self-employed and the economy is changing: The significance of services provided for other businesses is growing. Additionally, we can see that the significance of self-employment is falling. In Poland the level of (non-agricultural) self-employment is low. The dynamics of the rate of self employment indicate that the influence of legal regulations on the scale of self-employment is secondary. It seems that in this case, technological and demographic factors are much more significant.
  • Topic: Demographics, Labor Issues, Employment, Business , Social Policy, Tax Systems, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: George Selgin
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: "Depending on how one interprets the question that forms the topic of my talk, one can argue that the answer is obvious, or one can argue just the opposite. In one sense of course, it’s obvious that non-state money is possible. That’s the sense in which we ask only whether some kinds of non-state money are possible. And of course, the answer is yes. The vast majority of payments today, in Poland as elsewhere, are made with privately produced forms of money – that is, with bank deposits of various kinds – transferable by cheque or using debit cards. And there is nothing surprising about that. But of course, my assigned question can also be understood in a different and more interesting way. The interesting question is not whether some kinds of non-state- supplied money are possible. It is a different question, or rather two different questions. One of these is whether non-state circulating monies, or currencies, are possible. Can we rely on the private sector to supply hand-to-hand circulating means of payment? The other even more fundamental question is whether we can have a complete monetary system in which all forms of money supplied privately, and the state plays no substantial regulatory role. In fact, I intend to argue that non-state supplied currencies are also possible, and that completely private monetary systems, in which the state plays no important part, are possible as well. Indeed, I will argue, not only that these things are possible, but that history offers examples of them. That is, they are not just hypothetically possible. I plan to spend much of my time talking to you about these historical examples of privately produced currencies and private or mostly private monetary systems. I wish not merely to make it clear that private currencies and mostly private monetary systems really have existed in the past, but to point out to you that these private currencies and monetary systems have often been entirely or at least highly successful. We might even envy them today, given the performance of our own relatively heavily regulated monetary systems." - Prof. George Selgin writes in the introduction.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Banks, Trade, Cryptocurrencies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Adam Śmietanka, Alejandro Esteller Moré, Grzegorz Poniatowski, José María Durán-Cabré, Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: In this Report, the Authors present the new Value Added Tax (VAT) Gap estimates for 2016, as well as updated estimates for 2012-2016. In addition to the analysis of the Compliance Gap, this Report examines the Policy Gap in 2016 as well as the contribution that reduced rates and exemptions made to the theoretical VAT revenue losses. Moreover, the Report contains an econometric analysis of VAT Gap determinants, which is a novelty introduced from this year’s Study. In 2016, most European Union (EU) Member States (MS) saw positive tailwinds with a combined real GDP growth of 2.0 percent. As a result of a growing base and increasing VAT compliance, VAT revenue increased in all MS with three exceptions. Most pronounced is the case of Romania, where VAT revenue decreased in response to reduction of the standard rate by four percentage points. In nominal terms, in 2016, the VAT Gap in EU-28 MS fell below EUR 150 billion and amounted to EUR 147.1 billion. In relative terms, the VAT Gap share of the VAT total tax liability (VTTL) dropped to 12.3 percent from 13.2 percent in 2015, and is the lowest value in the analysed period of 2012-2016. Denoted at the share of GDP, the VAT Gap in 2016 amounted to 0.99% compared to 1.05% in 2015. Of the EU-28, the VAT Gap share decreased in 22 countries and increased in six—namely, Romania, Finland, the UK, Ireland, Estonia, and France. The biggest declines in the VAT Gap—of over five percentage points—occurred in Bulgaria, Latvia, Cyprus, and the Netherlands. The smallest Gaps were observed in Luxembourg (0.85 percent), Sweden (1.08 percent), and Croatia (1.15 percent). The largest Gaps were registered in Romania (35.88 percent), Greece (29.22 percent), and Italy (25.90 percent). Overall, half of EU-28 MS recorded a Gap below 9.9 percent. The Policy Gaps and its components remained stable. The average Policy Gap level was 44.8 percent, out of which 9.95 percentage points are due to the application of various reduced and super-reduced rates (the Rate Gap). Countries with the most flat levels of rates in the EU, according to the Rate Gap, are Denmark (0.93 percent) and Estonia (2.97 percent). The Exemption Gap, or the average share of Ideal Revenue lost due to various exemptions, is, on average, 35 percent in the EU, whereas the Actionable Policy Gap—a combination of the Rate Gap and the Actionable Exemption Gap—is, on average, 16.5 percent of the Notional Ideal Revenue. The econometric analysis can be considered a successful first attempt at inferring the impact of various determinants. Firstly, it can be observed that the productive structure of the economy exerts an impact on the VAT Gap. The share of retailers has the strongest impact on the VAT Gap; however, telecommunications, industry, and art also have a positive impact. Secondly, liquidity constraints and the productive structure of the economy also play a role in determining VAT compliance. The most interesting results have to do with the impact of the variables under the direct control of the tax administration. We show that the impact of the size of the tax administration and the VAT Gap is concave. On the contrary, in the case of IT expenditure, the impact is convex, albeit small, until productivity vanishes when IT expenditure is about 9.8 percent of the total expenditure of the tax administration.
  • Topic: Financial Crimes, Tax Systems, Fiscal Policy, VAT
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Lukasz Janikowski, Marek Dabrowski
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Virtual currencies are a contemporary form of private money. Thanks to their technological properties, their global transaction networks are relatively safe, transparent, and fast. This gives them good prospects for further development. However, they remain unlikely to challenge the dominant position of sovereign currencies and central banks, especially those in major currency areas. As with other innovations, virtual currencies pose a challenge to financial regulators, in particular because of their anonymity and trans-border character.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Currency, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union