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Friday news roundup May 14, 2021

Friday news roundup May 14, 2021

Global tax dodging has a direct link to increased death rates. A recent report by the Tax Justice Network reveals that avoiding or evading tax deprives governments across the world of around US$427 billion (£302 billion) every year, money that could be spent on clean water, sanitation, education, and health care. Just four countries are shown to be responsible for 55% of global tax losses—the UK and its overseas territories and crown dependencies, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Researchers used the Government Revenue and Development Estimations (GRADE) tool to model the impact of government revenue on child and maternal mortality to quantify the human cost of revenue losses through tax avoidance and tax evasion for every country in the world. The biggest impact is felt in low- and middle-income countries. For example, Nigeria lost almost US$11 billion or US$57 per person in 2020 due to unpaid tax revenue. Projecting this annual loss over ten years, the researchers estimate almost 150,000 child deaths could have been averted if these losses had been curtailed. The researchers say multinational businesses should be required to publish profits and tax paid in the country where the profit and tax was generated.

For additional insight into how tax evasion affects the distribution of income, read James Alm and Matthias Kasper’s IZA World of Labor article, “Tax evasion, market adjustments, and income distribution.” 

The digital bank Monzo is to offer its employees paid leave after pregnancy loss. Either partner in a relationship will be able to take up to ten days of leave after miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion in the UK bank’s new policy. The policy is part of a mental health drive following the departure of Monzo’s founder and former chief executive, Tom Blomfield, in January after he struggled with anxiety and stress. Either partner will be able to take the extra days of paid leave regardless of when in the pregnancy the loss happens. Current UK employment law means businesses only have to allow parents planned maternity or paternity leave if they lose their baby after 24 weeks, after which time it is considered a stillbirth. Prior to the loss is considered a miscarriage and does not qualify for maternity leave or pay. Employers do, however, have the discretion to offer compassionate leave, annual leave, or unpaid holiday. Monzo is one of the first UK companies known to have implemented paid leave for pregnancy loss. Campaigners hope that other businesses follow suit.

Find IZA World of Labor content on how family affects and is affected by the labor market.

Italy appointed it first female spy chief. Former ambassador Elisabetta Belloni was named as head of the Department of Information Security (DIS) on Wednesday and is the first woman to take on the role. The DIS oversees Italy’s foreign and domestic intelligence services and reports directly to the Italian government. In her youth, Belloni was one of the first girls to study at the formerly exclusively male Massimiliano Massimo Institute in Rome. She was also the first woman to lead the Italian foreign ministry’s crisis unit and in her time there oversaw the rescue operations for Italians affected by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, among other important tasks. She currently holds Italy’s highest diplomatic position as secretary-general of the foreign ministry.

Find IZA World of Labor content on a variety of issues affecting women’s labor force participation.