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Land Taxes, Output Taxes, and Sharecropping: Was Henry George Right?

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  • Hoff, Karla

Abstract

Economists have generally argued that if a land tax is administratively feasible, then to increase efficiency it should be used to the exclusion of output taxes. This article shows that underlying this policy prescription is the assumption that institutions for pooling and spreading production risks are perfect. When account is taken of the imperfections in those institutions, some use of output taxes will be Pareto superior to a pure land tax regime and may induce higher output, as well. Henry George was wrong! These results generally apply even when the land tax is indexed to regional output, and when land is farmed under sharecropping. Even in these cases, a move from a pure land tax to a mix of land and low output taxes will reduce preexisting distortions in both consumption and production arising from the imperfection in risk markets. Copyright 1991 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 93-111

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:93-111

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Cited by:
  1. Khan, Mahmood Hasan, 2001. "Agricultural taxation in developing countries: a survey of issues and policy," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 315-328, March.
  2. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Go, Delfin & Schiff, Maurice & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1996. "The whys and why nots of export taxation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1684, The World Bank.
  3. Alderman, H. & Paxson, C.H., 1992. "Do the Poor Insure? A Synthesis of the Literature on Risk and Consumption in Developing Countries," Papers 164, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Karla Hoff & Andrew B. Lyon, 1994. "Non-Leaky Buckets: Optimal Redistributive Taxation and Agency Costs," NBER Working Papers 4652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gelan, Ayele, 2004. "System-wide Impacts of Agricultural Export Taxes: A Simulation Experiment with Ethiopian Data," MPRA Paper 1490, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Black, Jane & de Meza, David, 1997. "Everyone may benefit from subsidising entry to risky occupations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 409-424, December.
  7. Shantayanan Devarajan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2002. "World Bank Economists' Forum : Volume 2," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15227, July.
  8. Assunção, Juliano Junqueira & Moreira, Humberto Ataíde, 2004. "Land taxes in a Latin American context," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 526, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).

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