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The value added tax: Its causes and consequences

  • Keen, Michael
  • Lockwood, Ben

This paper explores the causes and consequences of the remarkable rise of the value added tax (VAT), asking what has shaped its adoption and, in particular, whether it has proved an especially effective form of taxation. 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 leads to the estimation, on a panel of 143 countries for 25Â years, of a system 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, and to a significant but complex impact on the revenue ratio. The estimates suggest, very tentatively, that most countries which have adopted a VAT have thereby gained a more effective tax instrument, though this is less apparent in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 138-151

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:92:y:2010:i:2:p:138-151
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  1. John Piggott & John Whalley, 2001. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and the Informal Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1084-1094, September.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
  3. Ary Lars Bovenberg, 1986. "Indirect Taxation in Developing Countries; A General Equilibrium Approach," IMF Working Papers 86/1, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2005. "The Collection Efficiency of the Value Added Tax: Theory and International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT, Tariffs, and withholding; Border Taxes and Informality in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 07/174, International Monetary Fund.
  8. 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.
  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. Bovenberg, A.L., 1987. "Indirect taxation in developing countries : A general equilibrium approach," Other publications TiSEM adac046e-0845-4c4e-904a-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  11. 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.
  12. Jeremy Edwards & Michael Keen, 1994. "Tax competition and Leviathon," IFS Working Papers W94/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
  14. 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.
  15. John Thornton & Fabian Bornhorst & Sanjeev Gupta, 2008. "Natural Resource Endowments, Governance, and the Domestic Revenueeffort; Evidence From a Panel of Countries," IMF Working Papers 08/170, International Monetary Fund.
  16. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152947 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
  18. Stephen 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.
  19. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Is the VAT a Money Machine?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 905-28, December.
  20. Besley, Timothy & Jewitt, Ian, 1995. "Uniform taxation and consumer preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 73-84, September.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
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