"I think we should avoid that temptation to do something now just because it feels good to do something," Desai says. According to him, the inversions we're seeing now are simply the unanticipated effects of the legislation passed in 2004. Increasing the requirements on foreign ownership, then, might be a salve that not only would be temporary, but would also open up problematic possibilities down the line.
In recent years, a number of U.S.-based corporations with significant international holdings have shifted their headquarters overseas in an attempt to lower their tax bills. Harvard Business School's Mihir Desai is an expert on tax policy, international finance, and corporate finance.
"While it is tempting to characterize corporate tax reform as a sop to big business, we know that the burden of the corporate tax is borne by shareholders, workers, or customers. And much of the available evidence points to the majority of the burden being borne by workers, a result that is intuitive when one compares the relative mobility of capital, labor, and products," Desai said.
Some tax experts testifying at Tuesday's hearing cautioned that narrow legislation could prove counterproductive even if it successfully deters some companies from reincorporating overseas. For instance, raising the threshold of a foreign company's ownership for inversions could prompt bigger foreign companies to get involved in the transactions. That could result in the U.S. portion of the company shifting more of its jobs overseas, including high-paying headquarters jobs, said Mihir Desai, finance professor at Harvard Business School.
Mihir A. Desai, a professor of law at Harvard University, said punitive legislation could be counterproductive.
"Legislation that is narrowly focused on preventing inversions or specific transactions runs the risk of being counterproductive," he said. "For example, rules that increase the required size of a foreign target to ensure the tax benefits of an inversion can deter these transactions but can also lead to more substantive transactions."
Mihir Desai, Harvard Business School professor, shares his thoughts on corporate tax reform ahead of Tuesday morning's Senate hearing.
American drug companies AbbVie and Mylan won't be American long if all goes as planned. Both are involved in international mergers (worth $53.6 billion and $5.3 billion, respectively) with the ultimate goal of moving their home bases abroad.
Professor Mihir Desai comments to Mark Garrison on "Marketplace."
The combination of higher wages in China and the U.S. energy boom is shrinking the manufacturing competitiveness gap between the world's two largest economies, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group.
The effect of unionization on a country's economic competitiveness is of great interest to — and controversy among — economists. Are countries with higher rates of unionization more or less economically competitive?
Pfizer, the maker of best-selling drugs like Lipitor and Viagra and a symbol of business prowess in the United States for more than a century, no longer wants to be an American company.
On Monday, Pfizer proposed a $99 billion acquisition of its British rival AstraZeneca that would allow it to reincorporate in Britain. Doing so would allow Pfizer to escape the United States corporate tax rate and tap into a mountain of cash trapped overseas, saving it billions of dollars each year and making the company more competitive with other global drug makers.
Robert Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and former chairman of MFS Investment Management, talks about the U.S. corporate tax system and its impact on the economy. Pozen speaks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, chief executive officer of C.V. Starr & Co., also speaks.
America's infrastructure woes and how to fix them were front and center at the recent summit, America on the Move: Transportation and Infrastructure for the 21st Century, led by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.
As U.S. companies expanded globally in the 1970s and 1980s, they started ignoring their hometowns, hurting America and putting companies' long-term profits at risk, Jan Rivkin, professor at Harvard Business School, told a room full of business leaders. The result is that companies' profits have risen thanks to global success while American workers have struggled to keep up.
Harvard Business School surveyed 10,000 of its graduates who live and conduct business around the world.
The Harvard study made clear that our current tax code puts American businesses at a competitive disadvantage on the world market. That should concern all of us.
Harvard Business School did a survey last year asking 10,000 of its graduates who live and conduct business around the world about the challenges of doing business in America. These individuals are leaders on the front lines of the global economy, and they are pessimistic about America's economic future.
The vast majority of those surveyed, 71 percent, expected U.S. competitiveness to deteriorate over the next several years. And what did they identify as the root of America's competitiveness problem? Respondents pointed to America's tax code as one of the greatest weaknesses in the U.S. business environment.
Investment by Indian companies in the US has touched a record $ 11 billion and in the process has created more than 100,000 jobs, a study has revealed.
Starting in 2003, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region lagged the rest of the U.S. in job creation. Alarmed business and civic leaders coalesced around the Itasca Project, which set in motion a series of actions by groups of CEOs and politicians aimed at reversing these trends by creating jobs in all sectors of the economy.
Harvard Business School Professor Bill George speaks on Bloomberg about NSA surveillance, the vetting of contractors for intel outsourcing, and the role the auto industry can play in renewing U.S. Competitiveness.
The United States needs a modern tax code that unleashes the power of America's economy to create jobs, increase growth, encourage businesses to invest in the U.S., and let American companies large and small compete in today's global economy.
Competition from China and other low-wage rivals, coupled with fallout from the 2007-'09 financial crisis, has put American wages under such unprecedented strain that they have shifted into reverse -- not merely stagnating, but falling.
Now that financial markets have recovered and business efficiency and profitability have revived, the U.S. has regained its dominant position, according to IMD.
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform suggests that civil justice reform would play an important role in increasing the global competitiveness of American businesses.
The Obama administration has put in place programs that attract more production, more investment, and more jobs back to our shores, according to Karen Mills, head of the Small Business Administration.
The United Kingdom has beaten the United States to become the fifth top tourist destination in the world, according to a new report.
The US has an international tax system that puts American companies and workers at a disadvantage as they try to compete in a new world.
Contradicting earlier studies, conventional wisdom and politicians' rhetoric, European researchers say that the Internet infrastructure of the United States is one of the world's best and getting better.
For innovation, entrepreneurship, and startups, the U.S. continues to be unparalleled. But in spreading economic benefits broadly throughout the economy, we have not done well the last 30 years.
The U.S. economy will be between 1.5 and 2.6 percent smaller over the long-term because other nations' corporate tax rates are considerably more competitive, according to a new study by Ernst & Young and the RATE Coalition, a group lobbying for lower corporate tax rates.
Do you think that companies owe anything to the place they came from? Or is the notion of "home" now largely irrelevant for the corporate world?
Weak conditions abroad and flagging U.S. competitiveness caused exports to contract $27 billion and businesses anticipating a further slowdown slashed inventories by $40 billion in the fourth quarter.
Harvard Business School Professors Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin lay out policy steps for the president and Congress to follow in order to make American companies more competitive and their employees more prosperous.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says making sure that the U.S. has super-fast, high-capacity, ubiquitous broadband networks is essential to economic growth, job creation, and U.S. competitiveness.
Does the United States benefit from having a strategic competitor? We share the common assessment that the U.S.-China relationship will be the most important geopolitical relationship this century. But is this competition from China merely a threat, or also potentially an opportunity for the U.S.? We think it can be the latter.
Turning around the U.S. economy, and by extension the 50 state and thousands of local economies, will require a robust national innovation and competitiveness strategy focused on what we call the four "T's": corporate Tax reduction and reform; increased public investment in Technology and Talent, and much tougher Trade enforcement.
The US is on course to regain its status as a global industrial powerhouse, in spite of indications in recent months that the recovery is running out of steam, says a study published on Friday.
We must rebuild the American economic engine--which is the one-third of the U.S. economy that competes in global markets and that shrinks if it loses that competition.
Some nations are better at attracting businesses than others, and as the global economy continues to struggle, getting more companies to invest in a nation has become a necessity for maintaining financial strength. Where does the U.S. fall in the worldwide rankings, and how can we improve?
Speakers at the forum included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter; and Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson. Former presidential advisor David Gergen moderated the event.
The Chinese economy on Friday showed worrisome signs of slowing down, a development that not only threatens global economic growth but also may complicate the relationship between China and the United States.
Few doubt that to grow, the nation must innovate -- but how? We invite readers to post their specific ideas for accelerating development of the products, technologies and ideas we need to compete in global markets.
Rapid wage increases are threatening China's competitiveness, but improved productivity and other advantages mean it will continue to attract investors, analysts say.
With the dollar clearly strengthening, and with the economy in the U.S. softening, many are wondering if the U.S. is losing the currency war.
Harvard's Michael Porter and the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson join Morning Joe to discuss job creation in the U.S. and how to keep the country competitive. Some of Porter's suggestions include simplifying the tax code and creating a sustainable federal budget. "The solutions are not difficult--it's political will," says Porter.
We need a tax and regulatory structure that creates strong incentives for businesses to flourish. The thing is, we already have one.
A key Senate committee will hold a hearing this week about the competitiveness of U.S. airlines in the international aviation industry.
Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rewrite the U.S. Tax Code to promote job growth and reduce the federal budget deficit, said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.
The Global Investment in American Jobs Act -- introduced in the Senate last week -- calls for an assessment of U.S. policies that influence decisions by foreigners about investing in the United States.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday are calling for action to boost the US share of global foreign investment, which has fallen 50 per cent over the past decade as companies pour money into faster-growing economies.
Governments in most industrial countries have stepped up their promotion of clean energy technology in recent years, and the US is no longer a laggard in this area.
The Obama administration announced a $26 million multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to foster innovation-fueled job creation through public-private partnerships.
Professor Michael Porter joins a roundtable discussion on a potential Romney administration, Wall Street regulations, and the fundamental issues facing the US as a worldwide economic competitor. The 7-minute conversation on competitiveness begins at about the 8:40 mark of the video.
The current state of U.S. competitiveness is not the problem, but rather, a symptom of a larger systemic one, says Andrew McKeon, founder of business-climate.com. Fixing U.S. competitiveness will require a systems perspective much broader and more holistic than American management has practiced in the last 40 years.
The global economy has stepped back from the brink of danger and signs of stabilization are emerging from the euro zone and the United States, but high debt levels in developed markets and rising oil prices are key risks ahead, according to International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagarde.
CEOs are waking up to the idea that companies have a role to play in addressing weaknesses in the business environment — in the United States or elsewhere — and that business needs to invest in the "commons" to prosper, not just pursue its narrow self-interest. By Harvard Business School's Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin.
The United States imposes a substantial tax penalty, often around 30 percent, when U.S. corporations return profits earned abroad to build plants or pay dividends. With rules like these, it's no wonder that our nation is mired in a dismal recovery.
As we celebrate the success of the National Export Initiative and its positive impact on our economy, we must also commit to ensuring that its momentum continues. Providing more opportunities and support for U.S. companies to export their goods and services makes good economic sense--and American workers deserve nothing less.
President Obama's proposed tax cut on manufacurers, although significant, may be too small, as it would leave the rate in the United States above the rates of many developed and emerging-market countries competing for the investments of American companies.
Michael Porter is right: To progress, the US needs to shed two shibboleths of the Republican primary. One is that government must simply "get out of the way" in order for businesses to thrive and jobs to be created; the second is that free markets inherently produce good social results.
We should take a look at the most dynamic parts of today's global economy—the so-called emerging markets—while thinking about how to shore up American competitiveness.
Professors Robin Greenwood and David Scharfstein make recommendations in three important domains in which the U.S. financial system has underperformed: financial stability, housing finance, and investment costs.
Across the political spectrum, there is consensus that the United States faces challenges to its competitiveness. Current U.S. fiscal policy is, unfortunately, part of the problem rather than the solution, according to Professors Richard H.K. Vietor and Matthew C. Weinzierl.
It’s generally understood that the United States can’t be competitive—and won’t be able to support high, and rising, living standards—without a well trained, well paid, and continuously improving workforce that can compete with the best that other countries have to offer. Yet, at all levels of the economy, we behave as if we don’t believe this, opines Thomas A. Kochan.