Further information on Geary Lecture and seminar by Tim Besley below. To reserve a place at either/both event(s) please email firstname.lastname@example.org and state clearly which event(s) you wish to attend.
Geary Lecture: Tim Besley
4pm Friday 19 October at ESRI
Making and Breaking Tax Systems: The Institutional Foundations of Fiscal Capacity
We have become accustomed to governments having the fiscal capacity to support revenue raising of more than 40% of GDP. But such levels of taxation were unheard of before the 20th century. This lecture will review some of the trends in taxation over the past one hundred years and how the tax systems were created which support the needs of modern governments. It will use this historical perspective to reflect on the challenges that need to be confronted in trying to build a centralized fiscal state in Europe.
Research Seminar, 1pm Friday 19 October, at ESRI
The Welfare Cost of Lawlessness: Evidence from Somali Piracy
This paper estimates the effect of piracy attacks on shipping costs using a unique data set on shipping contracts in the dry bulk market. We look at shipping routes whose shortest path exposes them to piracy attacks and find that the increase in attacks in 2008 lead to around a eight to twelve percent increase in shipping costs. We use this estimate to get a sense of the welfare loss imposed by piracy. Depending on what is included, we estimate that generating around 120 USD million of revenue for pirates in the Somalia area led to a welfare loss of anywhere between 0.9 and 3.3 USD billion. Even at the lower bound, therefore, piracy is an expensive way of making transfers.