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What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries

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  • Michael Keen

Abstract

The VAT has taken the tax world by storm over the last fifty years, but left little trace in the academic literature. Bird and Gendron provide an impressively informed and informative account of the VAT experience in lower income countries, largely vindicating the tax and standard advice for its design. But they rightly stress too that dominant "expert opinion" on the VAT remains troublingly uninformed by serious analysis and evidence. This article focuses on some of these gaps and recent attempts to start filling them.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jel.47.1.159
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 47 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 159-70

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:47:y:2009:i:1:p:159-70

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.47.1.159
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  1. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  2. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
  4. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
  5. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT, Tariffs, and Withholding: Border Taxes and Informality in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 07/174, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Sònia Muñoz & Stanley Sang-Wook Cho, 2003. "Social Impact of a Tax Reform: The Case of Ethiopia," IMF Working Papers 03/232, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," Working Papers 1168, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  8. Glenn P. Jenkins & Hatice Jenkins & Chun-Yan Kuo, 2006. "Is the Value Added Tax Naturally Progressive?," Working Papers 1059, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Knud J., MUNK, 2008. "On the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008005, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques, revised 29 Jul 2011.
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