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Tax evasion and tax reform in a low income economy : general equilibrium estimates for Madagascar

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  • de Melo, Jaime
  • Roland-Holst, David
  • Haddad, Mona

Abstract

Madagascar's weak administrative system and complex tax structure (with many exemptions) have led to tax evasion and smuggling. The authors compare Madagascar's fiscal system with that of other low-income countries, noting its greater reliance on distortionary taxes. Using a 10-sector model and general equilibrium calculations, they estimate revenue losses from exemptions, tax evasion, and smuggling for three important instruments: import duties, value added taxes, and excise taxes. Next they calculate the welfare gain that would result from less distortionary tax structures. Simulation results suggest that the excess burden of taxes would be greatly reduced if Madagascar moved closer to a tax system with uniform rates across sector and instruments. Assuming that the uniform tax would be imposed only in sectors in which tax collection is now positive, simulations suggest that a uniform tax rate of 6 percent across instruments would be enough to raise the same revenues collected under the current structure. Moreover, lower bound estimates indicate the the excess burden of taxation would be reduced by moving toward uniformity of about 5 percent of the tax base.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 918.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 1992
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:918

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Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Public Sector Economics&Finance; Economic Theory&Research; Banks&Banking Reform; Tax Policy and Administration;

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  1. Martin, Lawrence & Panagariya, Arvind, 1984. "Smuggling, trade, and price disparity: A crime-theoretic approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 201-217, November.
  2. Clarete, Ramon L. & Whalley, John, 1987. "Comparing the marginal welfare costs of commodity and trade taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 357-362, August.
  3. Faini, Riccardo & de Melo, Jaime, 1991. "Fiscal issues in adjustment : an introduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 724, The World Bank.
  4. Deardorff, A.V. & Stolper, W.F., 1988. "Effects Of Smuggling Under African Conditions: A Factual, Institutional And Analytic Discussion," Working Papers, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan 230, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  5. de Melo, Jaime & Robinson, Sherman, 1989. "Product differentiation and the treatment of foreign trade in computable general equilibrium models of small economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 47-67, August.
  6. de Macedo, Jorge Braga, 1987. "Currency inconvertibility, trade taxes and smuggling," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 109-125, October.
  7. Richard A. Jensen & Jerry Thursby & Marie Thursby, 1988. "Smuggling, Camouflaging, and Market Structure," NBER Working Papers 2630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Krueger, Anne O & Schiff, Maurice & Valdes, Alberto, 1988. "Agricultural Incentives in Developing Countries: Measuring the Effect of Sectoral and Economywide Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 255-71, September.
  9. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Hansen, Bent, 1973. "A Theoretical Analysis of Smuggling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 172-87, May.
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