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Taxes, efficiency, and redistribution: Discriminatory taxation of villages in Ottoman Palestine, Southern Syria, and Transjordan in the sixteenth century

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  • Cosgel, Metin M.

Abstract

Governments can tax productive activities with either uniform or discriminatory rates among taxpayers. Although discriminatory rates can cause productive inefficiency and require high cost of administration, they can be preferred because of their advantage in distributional flexibility. This paper studies the discriminatory taxation of production in the Fertile Crescent. Using information from the Ottoman tax registers, it examines the basis, distortionary effects, and distributional consequences of discriminatory rates quantitatively. The results challenge widely held beliefs about the basis for discriminatory rates in this region and the Ottoman government's motivation in adapting systems of taxation in newly conquered lands.
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  • Cosgel, Metin M., 2006. "Taxes, efficiency, and redistribution: Discriminatory taxation of villages in Ottoman Palestine, Southern Syria, and Transjordan in the sixteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 332-356, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:43:y:2006:i:2:p:332-356
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    1. Holcombe, Randall G., 1998. "Tax Policy From a Public Choice Perspective," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 359-371, June.
    2. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-178, Winter.
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    1. Soumyananda Dinda & Arijit Mukherjee, 2011. "International Outsourcing, Tax, and Patent Protection," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 139-154, February.

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