The research of the Baker Institute Tax and Expenditure Policy Program focuses on critical areas in the field of public finance. One of the main areas of research is the simulation of the effects of U.S. tax reform, including fundamental reform of the individual income tax, more incremental income tax reforms, and corporate tax reform. The simulation of various reforms is accomplished using a large-scale dynamic computer general equilibrium model constructed by John Diamond and George Zodrow. Other projects have focused on earnings volatility, income mobility and inequality, alternative funding options for public schools, state and local investment tax incentives, state sales taxation of services, the optimal taxation of electronic commerce, the effects of the property tax, the effects of adopting education vouchers, and public employee pension liabilities. In addition, program researchers actively participate in the policymaking process by advising various national government agencies, state and international governments, and multilateral development institutions, as well as various key individual policymakers. Program researchers also have been asked to testify before federal and state government committees.
The Tax and Expenditure Policy Program organized a major conference in April 2006 that focused on various proposals for tax reform that were under discussion in the United States at that time. The proceedings of the conference were published in 2008 by The MIT Press in a volume titled “Fundamental Tax Reform: Issues, Choices and Implications,” edited by Diamond and Zodrow. In October 2011, the Tax and Expenditure Policy Program hosted a conference that examined fiscal policy changes to deal with the short- and long-run deficits facing the United States. Findings from this conference were compiled in a volume titled “Pathways to Fiscal Reform,” edited by Diamond and Zodrow, to be published in 2014 by The MIT Press.
Additionally, Zodrow and Diamond hold key editorial roles at the National Tax Journal, the leading publication for the dissemination of high-quality original research on governmental tax and expenditure policies. Zodrow is a co-editor and Diamond is forum editor. Zodrow was also honored by the National Tax Association in 2010 with the Steven D. Gold Award for significant contributions to state and local fiscal policy.