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Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization

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  • Baunsgaard, Thomas
  • Keen, Michael

Abstract

With the public finances of many developing and emerging market countries still heavily dependent on trade tax revenues, further trade liberalization may be hindered unless they are able to develop alternative sources of revenue. Against a background of, and to inform, heightened theoretical controversy as to the appropriate balance between trade and other taxes (not least the VAT), this paper uses panel data for 117 countries over 32 years--cleaned for a variety of problems in standard data sources--to address a central question of fact: Have countries recovered from domestic taxes the revenues they have lost from past episodes of trade liberalization? For high income countries, the answer is clearly 'yes.' For middle income countries, there are robust signs of strong replacement both concurrently with the revenue loss and--essentially dollar-for-dollar--in the long run. Signs of significant recovery by low income countries are flimsier, however, and their experiences appear to have varied widely. The picture that emerges for low income countries is thus that replacement has been (and become) higher than previous studies have suggested, but sufficiently incomplete in many cases to give cause for concern.

Suggested Citation

  • Baunsgaard, Thomas & Keen, Michael, 2010. "Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 563-577, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:9-10:p:563-577
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    References listed on IDEAS

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