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Future of the Corporation Research - Corporate Law, Taxation and Regulation

Business is often characterised as implacably resistant to regulation, but many businesses view good regulation as essential to providing a level playing field. How do regulation and corporate law, for example limited liability, affect the ability of businesses to reform their corporate purpose and operations? What reforms are needed to corporate law? Can governments act as agents for change by creating the framework for new sector-wide practices, such as adapting the emphasis on shareholder interests? Are there different models of corporate law that can be adopted and should corporate purpose be more explicitly incorporated in them? Is there an excessive reliance on regulation to correct corporate failures and can regulation and taxation be better designed to align corporations with public and social purposes? Given the multiplicity of regulation and the patchwork of international requirements that businesses must deal with, how might regulation and taxation be made better suited to global corporations? How can modernising corporate law, regulation and tax contribute to rewriting the contract between society and business?

How can we modernise corporate law, regulation, and taxation to adapt to a changing global landscape, and what role do governments play in this?

Lead Researcher(s) - Group 1 Institution
Professor Mihir Desai
Professor Dhammika Dharmapala
Harvard Law School
University of Chicago Law School

Group 1: the research will address the role of tax policy in shaping the activities of corporations in the global economy, and how taxation can be modernized in response to a changing global landscape. It will provide a rigorous examination of the scholarly literature on corporations in a global economy and cover topics including: i) taxation and real activity, ii) taxation and profit shifting, iii) tax competition, iv) effects of bilateral and multilateral arrangements, and v) tax reforms that implicate international dimensions. Secondly, it hopes to provide an architecture for addressing questions that will dominate the debate on corporations and taxation for decades to come. It plans to begin by grounding this discussion in the various theories that have been proposed for why corporate taxation exists (or why it should not exist). Then, it will explore three alternative futures and measure them against policy objectives. The alternative futures will include multilateral taxing authorities, destination based corporate taxes, and the preservation of the current income tax model. Policy objectives employed in this analysis will include efficiency, administrability, corporate responsibility, the perceived legitimacy of tax systems, and equity.

Lead Researcher(s) - Group 2
Professor John Armour
Professor Luca Enriques
Professor Ariel Ezrachi
Professor John Vella
Oxford Law Faculty

Group 2: the research will focus on four key trends that the authors consider particularly salient in reshaping priorities and available solutions in corporate law, competition policy and taxation. These are: (1) Trade policy: the growing tension between globalization and rising economic nationalism; (2) Digitalisation: the increasing role of digital technologies and associated non-human agency in business and firms; (3) Innovation: the significance of R&D spending and intensity of disruptive innovation; (4) Ownership: changes in the concentration of firms within industries and of stockholders within companies. Having analysed each of these factors in isolation, the research will conclude with a discussion of possible interactions between their impact.

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