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Non-linear effects of tax changes on output: The role of the initial level of taxation

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  • Gunter, Samara
  • Riera-Crichton, Daniel
  • Vegh, Carlos A.
  • Vuletin, Guillermo

Abstract

We estimate the effect of worldwide tax changes on output following the narrative approach developed for the United States by Romer and Romer (2010). We use a novel dataset on value-added taxes for 51 countries (21 industrial and 30 developing) for the period 1970–2014 to identify 96 tax changes. We then use contemporaneous economic records to classify such changes as endogenous or exogenous to current (or prospective) economic conditions. In line with theoretical distortionary and disincentive-based arguments – and using exogenous tax changes – we find that the effect of tax changes on output is highly non-linear. The tax multiplier is essentially zero under relatively low initial tax rate levels and more negative as the initial tax rate increases. Based on a global sample, these novel non-linear findings suggest that the recent consensus pointing to large negative tax multipliers in industrial countries, particularly in industrial Europe (e.g., Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi, 2015) may represent a special case driven by high initial tax rates in these countries.

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  • Gunter, Samara & Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2021. "Non-linear effects of tax changes on output: The role of the initial level of taxation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:131:y:2021:i:c:s0022199621000271
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2021.103450
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    Cited by:

    1. Beetsma, Roel & Furtuna, Oana & Giuliodori, Massimo & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2021. "Revenue- versus spending-based fiscal consolidation announcements: Multipliers and follow-up," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    2. Ozana Nadoveza Jelić & Jurica Šimurina, 2020. "Evaluating sectoral effects of agricultural nitrogen pollution reduction policy in Croatia within a CGE framework," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-35, December.
    3. Cloyne, James & Jordá, Óscar & Taylor, Alan M., 2020. "Decomposing the Fiscal Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 14544, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Norman V. Loayza & Steven Pennings, 2020. "Macroeconomic Policy in the Time of COVID-19," World Bank Publications - Reports 33540, The World Bank Group.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2019. "Effects of Austerity: Expenditure- and Tax-Based Approaches," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 141-162, Spring.
    6. Yan Carrière‐Swallow & Antonio C. David & Daniel Leigh, 2021. "Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation in Emerging Economies: New Narrative Evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 53(6), pages 1313-1335, September.
    7. Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin & Daniel Riera-Crichton & Diego Friedheim & Luis Morano & José Andrée Camarena, "undated". "Fiscal Adjustment in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Publications - Reports 29666, The World Bank Group.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax multiplier; Tax policy; Tax rate; Value-added tax; Non-linear; Narrative approach;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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