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Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector

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  • Ronald B. Davies

    ()
    (University College Dublin)

  • Lourenço S. Paz

    (Syracuse University)

Abstract

The debate over the use of tariffs or value added taxes in developing countries has focused on the difficulty of collecting VAT from the informal sector of the economy. This paper contributes by considering this issue with heterogeneous firms and endogenous entry. This yields two new results. First, a cut in the tariff in and of itself can reduce the size of the informal sector. Second, the imposition of a VAT need not increase the number of informal firms. In fact, for many parameterizations of the model, higher VAT reduces informality. Despite this, whether a revenue neutral shift from tariffs to VAT increases or decreases welfare depends on the parametrization. Therefore while this move may be welfare improving in some cases, it is not a one-size fits all policy.

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Paper provided by Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation in its series Working Papers with number 1006.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1006

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Keywords: Value Added Tax; Heterogeneous Firms;

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  1. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," Working Papers 1168, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Keen, Michael & Ligthart, Jenny E., 2002. "Coordinating tariff reduction and domestic tax reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 489-507, March.
  4. Davin Chor, 2007. "Subsides for FDI : Implications from a Model with Heterogeneous Firms," Finance Working Papers 22069, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2007. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2007-6, University of Oregon Economics Department.
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  8. Ellingsen, Tore & Warneryd, Karl, 1999. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Political Economy of Protection," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 357-79, May.
  9. Schröder, Philipp J.H. & Jørgensen, Jan G., 2007. "Fixed Export Cost heterogeneity, Trade and Welfare," MPRA Paper 7397, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
  11. Matthew T. Cole (University College Dublin) Ronald B. Davies (University College Dublin), 2009. "Optimal Tariffs, Tariff Jumping, and Heterogeneous Firms," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp302, IIIS.
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  16. Gatti, Roberta & Honorati, Maddalena, 2008. "Informality among formal firms : firm-level, cross-country evidence on tax compliance and access to credit," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4476, The World Bank.
  17. Matthew T Cole, 2009. "The Choice of Modeling Firm Heterogeneity and Trade Restrictions," Working Papers 200920, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
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Cited by:
  1. Bauer, Christian & Davies, Ronald B. & Haufler, Andreas, 2014. "Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 42-56.
  2. Paz, Lourenco, 2012. "The impacts of trade liberalization on informal labor markets: an evaluation of the Brazilian case," MPRA Paper 38858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Michael S. Michael & Panos Hatzipanayotou, 2012. "Pollution and Reforms of Domestic and Trade Taxes towards Uniformity," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 11-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  4. Panos Hatzipanayotou & Sajal Lahiri & Michael Michael, 2011. "Trade and domestic tax reforms in the presence of a public good and different neutrality conditions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 273-290, June.
  5. Paz, Lourenço S., 2014. "The impacts of trade liberalization on informal labor markets: A theoretical and empirical evaluation of the Brazilian case," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 330-348.

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