Tax Expenditures, the Size and Efficiency of Government, and Implications for Budget Reform
AbstractOne possible explanation for the difficulty in controlling the budget is that a major component of spending —tax expenditures—receives privileged status. It is treated as tax cuts rather than spending. This paper explores the implications of that classification and illustrates how it can lead to higher taxes, larger government, and an inefficient mix of spending (too many tax expenditures). The paper then analyzes alternative budgeting approaches that would explicitly incorporate and measure tax expenditures. It concludes by analyzing ways to control tax expenditures (and other spending) and the special challenges presented by tax expenditures.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17268.
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Leonard E. Burman, Marvin Phaup. "Tax Expenditures, the Size and Efficiency of Government, and Implications for Budget Reform," in Jeffrey Brown, editor, "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 26" University of Chicago Press (2012)
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
- H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-08-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2011-08-15 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2011-08-15 (Public Finance)
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.:
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- Leonard E. Burman & Christopher Geissler & Eric J. Toder, 2008. "How Big Are Total Individual Income Tax Expenditures, and Who Benefits from Them?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 79-83, May.
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- David F. Bradford, 2001.
"Reforming Budgetary Language,"
NBER Working Papers
8500, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Deborah Lucas, 2010. "Measuring and Managing Federal Financial Risk," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number luca07-1.
- Davie, Bruce F., 1994. "Tax Expenditures in the Federal Excise Tax System," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 39-62, March Cit.
- Alex Laurin & William Robson, 2013. "Prudence and Opportunity: A Shadow Federal Budget for 2013," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 375, March.
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