Économie politique de la taxation
Tax systems are generally assessed through their ability to achieve efficiency and equity goals. The question raised in this article is why and how some of these systems can get created and/or stay and place without achieving any of these goals. The approach used is in the tradition of the political economy literature, which assesses the web of interactions between the incentives of politicians to propose policies and the economic outcomes, that result, a.o. in terms of equity and efficiency. We review some of the existent theoretical analyses, to provide a better understanding of our two problems of interest dimensions concerning tax systems. First, why are inefficient systems not reformed? Second, why would governments ever implement systems that are viewed as inferior by a majority of the voters? Then, we illustrate how these theoretical mechanisms have worked in Belgium. Our analysis provides three cases studies: the tax exemptions awarded to SMEs, the tax exemptions offered to one-earner couples, and the taxation of capital income. In each of these cases, we highlight inefficiencies in the existing system –and hence could (should?) be reformed –and how the political economy factors put forth in the literature explain why actual reforms have remained insufficient. JEL codes: D70, D72, H20, H21, H24.
Volume (Year): XLV (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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