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Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries

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  • Richard Bird

    ()
    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Taxes matter. We all know we need them to pay for public services. But most of us complain about them -- exercise our "voice" -- and often try to dodge them -- to "exit" -- when we can. Those who design and implement tax systems, like those who try to escape them, for the most part consider themselves to be eminently ‘practical’ people responding to the world around them as they see it. As John Maynard Keynes (1936, 384-85) once said, however, “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite free from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist…..soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.” While true to some extent, at least when it comes to taxes this dictum both unduly flatters economists and puts too little weight on interests and other factors. Tax policy everywhere is shaped not only by ideas and vested interests but also by changing economic conditions, administrative constraints and technological possibilities, and, especially, the political institutions within which these factors are at play.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0802.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0802

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Keywords: value-added tax; tax system; exit; voices;

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References

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  5. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Vanishing Bequest Tax: The Comparative Evolution of Bequest Taxation in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 6115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ahmed, Vaqar & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2009. "Redistributive effect of personal income taxation in Pakistan," MPRA Paper 16700, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos, 2011. "The Greek fiscal crisis and the role of fiscal governance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36432, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Joachim Ahrens & Rainer Schweickert & Juliane Zenker, 2011. "Varieties of Capitalism, Governance and Government Spending – A Cross-Section Analysis," Kiel Working Papers 1726, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos, 2013. "Fiscal Deficits and the Role of Fiscal Governance: The case of Greece," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 43(1), pages 5-30, March.
  5. Richard M. Bird, 2008. "The BBLR Approach to tax Reform in Emerging Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0804, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  6. Fjeldstad, Odd-Helge, 2013. "Taxation and development: A review of donor support to strengthen tax systems in developing countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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