Tax and Public Finance


The research program Public Finance includes normative projects about how the tax system should be designed, cost benefit analysis of public projects, and how taxation affects individual and firm behavior.

Research within this field has become increasingly important due to the financial crisis, which has placed heavy pressure on public budgets and the ability of the tax systems to produce tax revenue at as little cost for the economy as possible. In countries with a large welfare state such as Norway, the public support for the welfare state also hinges on taxpayers being satisfied with the relative trade-off between what they pay in taxes and the services delivered by the public sector. A good understanding about how taxes affect behavior among firms and individuals is therefore crucial to this research program. 

Research focus

•   Tax compliance and Tax havens
•   Cost-benefit analysis and welfare economics
•   Tax reform
•   Challenges of the welfare state

Tax compliance

Studies on tax compliance are focused on strategies to secure tax revenue. This type of research uses data, experiments and theory in combination to find the most cost efficient way to finance the welfare state. Embedded in this program are studies of tax avoidance and tax evasion.
A second part of this project studies the impact tax havens have on markets, individual behavior and the design of policy.
An important aspect of the research program on tax compliance is to understand how the support for and the financing of the welfare state are formed.

Cost benefit analysis and the welfare state

Research related to public policy design is important for the research program. Effect evaluations of reforms and new programs within the welfare state are examples of research issues. The aim of this research is to make sure that taxpayers’ money is used in the most efficient way. 

Tax reform

Internationally, tax reforms have lead to a decline in nominal corporate tax rates combined with a transition from wealth to property and excise taxes. This program addresses tax reform issues in the Norwegian economy and relates them to the international debate of tax reform. For Norway it is an important task to identify the characteristics of a good tax system for a small open economy, taking into account the trade-off between efficiency and equity. 

Program Director: Professor Guttorm Schjelderup

Tel: +47 55 95 92 38


•   A study of Norwegian taxpayers that hide income and wealth abroad (Norwegian tax authority)
•   Corporate and capital tax reform in Norway (The research council of Norway)
•   Tax evasion and tax avoidance strategies for multinational enterprises (The research council of Norway)

Academic staff

•   Professor Jonas Anderson, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
•   Senior Researcher Afsane Bjorvatn, SNF
•   Professor Kjetil Bjorvatn, NHH
•   Chief Economist Kurt Brekke, The Competition Authority
•   Professor Kåre Petter Hagen, NHH
•   Professor Jostein Lillestøl, NHH
•   Associate professor Aksel Mjøs, NHH
•   Professor Jarle Møen, NHH
•   Associate Professor Karl Rolf Pedersen, NHH
•   Professor Guttorm Schjelderup, NHH
•   Post doc./Assistant Professor Bård Støve, NHH
•   Professor Karin Thorburn, NHH