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Towards a theory of the direct-indirect tax mix


  • Boadway, Robin
  • Marchand, Maurice
  • Pestieau, Pierre


Despite the fact that all developed economies levy broadly-based indirect taxes alongside direct taxes, little theory is devoted to explaining the direct-indirect tax mix. Our purpose is to show that if different taxes have different evasion characteristics, some optimal tax mix emerges naturally. Assuming that only income tax can be evaded and focusing on a two-class economy, we analyze the case for supplementing optimal (nonlinear) income taxation with commodity taxation, and we develop conditions under which the latter should or should not be uniform.
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Suggested Citation

  • Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 1994. "Towards a theory of the direct-indirect tax mix," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 71-88, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:55:y:1994:i:1:p:71-88

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 211-216, May.
    4. Hines, J.R., 1990. "The Flight Paths Of Migratory Corporations," Papers 65, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
    5. Goodspeed, Timothy & Frisch, Daniel, 1989. "U.S. tax policy and the overseas activities of U.S. multinational corporations: a quantitative assessment," MPRA Paper 39389, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    7. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    8. Joel B. Slemrod, 1990. "Tax Effects on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Evidence from a Cross-Country Comparison," NBER Chapters,in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 79-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Leechor, Chad & Mintz, Jack, 1993. "On the taxation of multinational corporate investment when the deferral method is used by the capital exporting country," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 75-96, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Balestrino, Alessandro, 2010. "Tax avoidance and the endogenous formation of social norms," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 601-609, October.
    2. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen & Luca Micheletto, 2016. "Public Provision of Private Goods, Self-Selection, and Income Tax Avoidance," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(4), pages 666-692, October.
    3. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
    4. Huang, Jason & Rios, Juan, 2016. "Optimal tax mix with income tax non-compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 52-63.
    5. Julien Daubanes & Pierre Lasserre, 2011. "Optimum Commodity Taxation with a Non-Renewable Resource," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 11/151, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    6. Boadway, Robin & Song, Zhen, 2016. "Indirect taxes for redistribution: Should necessity goods be favored?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 64-88.
    7. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2004. "Tacit collusion and international commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 577-600, March.
    8. Belan, Pascal & Gauthier, Stéphane & Laroque, Guy, 2008. "Optimal grouping of commodities for indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1738-1750, July.
    9. Gordon, Roger H. & Bo Nielsen, Soren, 1997. "Tax evasion in an open economy:: Value-added vs. income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 173-197, November.
    10. Dhami, Sanjit & Al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2010. "Optimal taxation in the presence of tax evasion: Expected utility versus prospect theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 313-337, August.
    11. Sanz Labrador, Ismael & Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2013. "Política fiscal y crecimiento económico: consideraciones microeconómicas y relaciones macroeconómicas," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 134, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    12. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 2001. "Labor and capital income taxation, fiscal competition, and the distribution of wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 71-91, January.
    13. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2006. "Is commodity taxation unfair?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1765-1787, November.
    14. Etro, Federico, 2016. "Research in economics and public finance," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 1-6.
    15. Gahvari, Firouz & Micheletto, Luca, 2014. "The Friedman rule in an overlapping-generations model with nonlinear taxation and income misreporting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 10-23.
    16. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Wilson, John Douglas, 2007. "Efficient black markets?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1575-1590, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance


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