During our history, we have sponsored or co-sponsored more than 20 conferences. To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we hosted a special conference on June 21 - 23, 2018 featuring prominent economists from around the world. Roundtable discussions were held on Global Tax Policy Issues, Promising New Directions in Tax Research, and What It Would Be Good to Know in 2048 (OTPR's 60th Anniversary)!
Our conferences have spanned domestic and international topics such as the "Economic Consequences of Taxing the Rich," to the IIPF 67th Annual Congress on "Rethinking the Role of the State: Responses to Recent Challenges," to our "Tax Systems" conference co-sponsored with the Centre for Business Taxation at the University of Oxford, OTPR conferences feature experts from around the world that address tax issues of our time and provide an atmosphere for conversations and collaborations. To view the titles, dates, and locations, please visit our Conferences tab.
International Projects/Visiting Scholars
Participating in international projects and hosting Visiting Scholars have provided opportunities for collaborative discussions that aid us in our mission of encouraging and facilitating joint research on tax systems. These collaborations have included the following countries: Australia, Austria, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Advising/Mentoring Ph.D Students
One of our primary responsibilities is to advise and mentor Ph.D. students. In total, we have advised more than 55 students who are now embarking on their own journeys in academic institutions, government, and business. You may find them at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Columbia University, or the Higher School in Economics St. Petersburg; the U.S. Department of the Treasury; the Ministry of Finance, Thailand, or the Ministry of Finance, Japan; the Korea Capital Market Institute or Abt Associates. We are proud of the global impact they are creating.
One of OTPR's latest publications is the forthcoming book by Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod titled Rebellions, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages, being released on April 6, 2021.
The OTPR team consists of a number of individuals, whose photos, titles, and brief bios can be found below.
Joel Slemrod is the Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics. He also serves as Director of the Office of Policy Research, an interdisciplinary research center housed at the Ross School of Business. Professor Slemrod received the B.A. degree from Princeton University in 1973 and the Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1980. Professor Slemrod has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Canadian Department of Finance, the New Zealand Department of Treasury, the South Africa Ministry of Finance, the World Bank, and the OECD. From 1992 to 1998 Professor Slemrod was editor of the National Tax Journal. In 2005-6, he was president of the National Tax Association and, from 2015 to 2018, was president of the International Institute of Public Finance. In 2012 he received from the National Tax Association its most prestigious award, the Daniel M. Holland Medal for distinguished lifetime contributions to the study and practice of public finance. He is the co-author with Jon Bakija of Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen’s Guide to the Debate over Taxes, now in its fifth edition; with Leonard E. Burman of Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know, now in its second edition; and with Christian Gillitzer of Tax Systems, published in 2014. His book with Michael Keen, Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2021.
James R. Hines Jr. is the L. Hart Wright Collegiate Professor of Law and codirector of the Law and Economics Program at Michigan Law. He is also the Richard A. Musgrave Collegiate Professor of Economics in the department of economics and serves as the Research Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research in U-M's Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Professor Hines's research is focused on various aspects of taxation. He taught at Princeton and Harvard universities prior to joining the Michigan faculty in 1997, and has held visiting appointments at Columbia; the London School of Economics; the Unversity of California, Berkeley; and Harvard Law School. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, research director of the International Tax Policy Forum, former co-editor of the American Economic Association’s Journal of Economic Perspectives, and once, long ago, was an economist in the U.S. Department of Commerce. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Harvard, all in economics.
Mary Ceccanese received her B.A. in Human Resource Administration (summa cum laude) from Concordia College in 1992. She is in her 33rd year of working in the Office of Tax Policy Research at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She is responsible for coordinating all of the ongoing activities of OTPR including project management, financial and grant administration, conference planning, publication and editorial coordination, as well as populating the OTPR Family Tree! From 1992 to 1998, Ms. Ceccanese was the editorial assistant for the National Tax Journal.
Nirupama Rao is an Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Her research concerns the economic effects of fiscal policy, focusing on the impact of policy on firm production, investment and pricing decisions. She has studied how excise taxes on oil production affect the extraction decisions of domestic producers, the effectiveness of federal tax credits for R&D, and investigated the composition and importance of corporate deferred taxes. In other work she has examined how regulation and taxation interact in alcohol markets and the implications of pricing behavior for tax pass-through. Professor Rao is a recipient of the National Tax Association Dissertation Award. Rao completed her PhD in economics at MIT in June 2010 where she previously earned her undergraduate degree. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She recently served as a Senior Economist from 2015 through 2016 at the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, D.C.
Amanda Kowalski, the Gail Wilensky Professor of Applied Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan Department of Economics, is a health economist who specializes in bringing together theoretical models and econometric techniques to answer questions that inform current debates in health policy. Professor Kowalski’s recent research advances methods to analyze experiments and clinical trials with the goal of designing policies to target insurance expansions and medical treatments to individuals who will benefit from them the most. Professor Kowalski is the 2019 recipient of the ASHEcon Medal, given to “an economist age 40 or under who has made the most significant contributions to the field of health economics.” Professor Kowalski is a Research Associate at the NBER. She holds a PhD in economics from MIT and an AB in economics from Harvard. Previously, she was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Yale Department of Economics. Before joining Yale, she held a post-doctoral fellowship in Health and Aging at the NBER. Her interest in health policy has led her to spend two years in Washington, DC, one as a research assistant in health and labor at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and another as the Okun Model Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Ashley Craig is a public and labor economist. His current research focuses on human capital investment, taxation, and inequality – especially in environments in which beliefs are formed based on imperfect information. Professor Craig received his PhD from Harvard University in May 2019, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney. Previously, he worked as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. While at Harvard, he was a James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Ph.D. Scholar in Inequality and Wealth Concentration, and recipient of a Lara Warner Ph.D. fellowship from the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program. He received teaching awards from both Harvard University and the University of Sydney.
OTPR International Affiliate
Claudio Agostini is a Professor of Economics at the School of Government at the Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile. He also serves as the President of the Chilean Society of Public Policy, as the editor of Economía y Política, and co-editor of Economic Analysis Review. Professor Agostini holds a B.A. in Economics from the Catholic University of Chile and received the Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 2003. Professor Agostini has been consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. His current research focuses on mining taxation and royalties, diesel and gasoline taxation, income tax avoidance, and incidence of special tax regimes and exemptions. Previous research dealt with the capitalization of new subway lines on housing prices, the impact of corporate taxation on foreign direct investment, and the effects of government cash transfers on poverty and inequality.
Laura Kawano is a Research Affiliate with the Office of Tax Policy Research in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. She was previously a financial economist in the Business and International Tax Division at the U.S. Department of Treasury. In the fall of 2013, Laura was a visiting assistant professor in the Business Economic and Public Policy Department at the Wharton School. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on the impacts of tax policy on individual and firm choices. She has written on household portfolio choices, the elasticity of taxable income, and tax salience. She has also worked on projects that use administrative data to understand the long-run impacts of unemployment spells and natural disasters. Laura received her B.A. from Occidental College in 2002 and her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 2010.
Luis Alejos is an economist in the Fiscal and Municipal Management Division at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. His past work experience includes positions as Country Economist for El Salvador at the Inter-American Development Bank, Director of Public Credit at the Ministry of Finance in Guatemala, Lecturer in International Trade and International Finance at Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, as well as consulting for international organizations and think tanks. His current research agenda focuses on public finance issues in developing countries, such as income tax evasion in environments with low enforcement, tax avoidance through domestic profit shifting, the incidence of simplified tax regimes for micro and small enterprises, and the fiscal impact of extreme weather events. Luis received his BSc. in Economics (2004) and MSc. in Economics (2005) from University College London, England, and his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Economics (2018) from the University of Michigan.
University of Michigan doctoral students contribute importantly to the performance of OTPR's mission. Consequently, OTPR offers annually a special fellowship designed to attract to Michigan and support outstanding graduate students interested in pursuing public finance as a field. This fellowship is the Richard A. Musgrave Fellowship, named in honor of one of the leading figures of twentieth century public finance, who wrote his most influential book while a professor at Michigan.
The fellowship supplements other support offered by the University and the economics department with a guaranteed research assistantship in the first and second summers of the Musgrave's Fellow's residence at Michigan. The goal is to enhance graduate training with early participation in research projects.
Richard A. Musgrave was born in 1910 in Königstein, Germany. He received a Diplom Volkswirt from Heidelberg University in 1933, an M.A. from Harvard University in 1936 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1937. He was an instructor and tutor at Harvard from 1936-1941. A naturalized U.S. citizen, he served as an Economist in the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Board from 1939-1948. In 1948-49 he was a lecturer at Swarthmore College, and in 1949 he moved to the University of Michigan, where he was Professor of Economics.
Professor Musgrave taught at Michigan for nine years. During his Michigan years he wrote his revolutionary The Theory of Public Finance, 1959, which changed the way future generations of public finance students conceptualize the key questions in this field. As the work proceeded, subsequent chapters were discussed in his seminar, encouraging his students to undertake future work in public finance. During his years at Michigan, Professor Musgrave also published scores of articles and Congressional testimonies. A study on tax incidence, published jointly with members of his seminar, was honored recently as the most widely cited article ever published in the National Tax Journal.
To be considered for the Musgrave Fellowship, the applicant must submit to OTPR, at the time of application to the economics Ph.D. program (deadline of December 15), the following materials:
• A copy of the Ph.D. program application
• A statement of research interests and request to be considered for the Musgrave Fellowship
• One recommendation letter