Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Value Added Tax: Its Causes and Consequences

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michael Keen
  • Ben Lockwood

Abstract

Almost unknown in 1960, the value added tax (VAT) is now found in more than 130 countries, raises around 20 percent of the world’s tax revenue, and has been the centerpiece of tax reform in many developing countries. This paper explores the causes and consequences of the remarkable rise of the VAT. A key question is whether it has indeed proved, as its proponents claim, an especially effective form of taxation. To address this, it is first shown that a tax innovation—such as the introduction of a VAT—reduces the marginal cost of public funds if and only if it also leads an optimizing government to increase the tax ratio. This observation leads to the estimation, on a panel of 143 countries for 25 years, of a system of equations describing both the probability of VAT adoption and the revenue impact of the VAT. The results point to a rich set of determinants of VAT adoption, this being more likely, for example, if a country has a program with the IMF and the less open it is to international trade. In the revenue equation, the presence of a VAT does indeed have a significant impact, but also a complex one, with a negative intercept effect counteracted by positive effects that are greater the higher are per capita income and, more tentatively, openness. While the sign of the revenue impact of the VAT is thus in general ambiguous, most countries that have adopted a VAT seem to have gained a more effective tax instrument in doing so (though this is less apparent in sub-Saharan Africa), and most without it seem likely to gain from its adoption.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://cadmus.iue.it/dspace/bitstream/1814/6865/4/ECO-2007-09.pdf
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2007/09.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2007/09

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Badia Fiesolana, Via dei Roccettini, 9, 50016 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI) Italy
Phone: +39-055-4685.982
Fax: +39-055-4685.902
Web page: http://www.eui.eu/ECO/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Value added tax; tax reform;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2007. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521877657, December.
  2. Stephen C. Smith & Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Fraud and Evasion: What Do We Know, and What Can be Done?," IMF Working Papers 07/31, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Is the VAT a Money Machine?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 905-28, December .
  4. Jeremy Edwards & Michael Keen, 1994. "Tax competition and Leviathon," IFS Working Papers W94/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Bovenberg, A.L., 1987. "Indirect taxation in developing countries: A general equilibrium approach," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152947, Tilburg University.
  6. Keen, Michael, 2008. "VAT, tariffs, and withholding: Border taxes and informality in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1892-1906, October.
  7. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2005. "The collection efficiency of the value added tax: theory and international evidence," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt42d103zh, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Kent Matthews, 2003. "VAT Evasion and VAT Avoidance: Is there a European Laffer curve for VAT?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 105-114.
  12. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  13. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Openness, Country Size and Government," Scholarly Articles 4553014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. John Piggott & John Whalley, 1998. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and The Informal Sector," NBER Working Papers 6349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Agha, Ali & Haughton, Jonathan, 1996. "Designing VAT Systems: Some Efficiency Considerations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 303-08, May.
  16. Besley, Timothy & Jewitt, Ian, 1995. "Uniform taxation and consumer preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 73-84, September.
  17. Kent Matthews & Jean Lloyd-Williams, 2000. "Have VAT rates reached their limit?: an empirical note," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 111-115.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2007/09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marcia Gastaldo).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.