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What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries

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  • Michael Keen

Abstract

The VAT has taken the tax world by storm over the last fifty years, but left little trace in the academic literature. Bird and Gendron provide an impressively informed and informative account of the VAT experience in lower income countries, largely vindicating the tax and standard advice for its design. But they rightly stress too that dominant "expert opinion" on the VAT remains troublingly uninformed by serious analysis and evidence. This article focuses on some of these gaps and recent attempts to start filling them.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Keen, 2009. "What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 159-170, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:47:y:2009:i:1:p:159-70
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.47.1.159
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2011. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107401440.
    2. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2009. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Knud MUNK, "undated". "On the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries," EcoMod2008 23800093, EcoMod.
    7. 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.
    8. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10797-017-9443-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chapman, Jonathan, 2016. "Democratic reform and opposition to government expenditure : evidence from nineteenth-century Britain," Economics Working Papers MWP2016/21, European University Institute.
    3. Christian EBEKE & Hélène EHRHART, 2011. "Does VAT reduce the instability of tax revenues?," Working Papers 201124, CERDI.
    4. Sijbren Cnossen, 2014. "Mobilizing VAT Revenues in African Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 5102, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana & Pedro Pascual Arzoz, 2011. "Fraude fiscal e IVA en España: incidencia en un modelo de equilibrio general," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 199(4), pages 9-52, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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