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Going Where the Money Is: Strategies for Taxing Economic Elites in Unequal Democracies

  • Fairfield, Tasha
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    How can policymakers circumvent obstacles to taxing economic elites? This question is critical for developing countries, especially in Latin America where strengthening tax capacity depends significantly on tapping under-taxed, highly-concentrated income and profits. Drawing on diverse literatures and extensive fieldwork, the paper identifies six strategies that facilitate enactment of modest tax increases by mobilizing popular support and/or tempering elite antagonism. Case studies from Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia illustrate the effect of these strategies on the fate of tax reform initiatives. The analysis builds theory on tax politics and yields implications for research on reform coalitions and gradual institutional change.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X13000648
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 42-57

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:47:y:2013:i:c:p:42-57
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    1. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-71, February.
    2. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2005. "Redistribution via Taxation: The Limited Role of the Personal Income Tax in Developing Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0507, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    4. Goni, Edwin & Lopez, J. Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2008. "Fiscal redistribution and income inequality in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4487, The World Bank.
    5. Mkandawire, Thandika, 2010. "On Tax Efforts and Colonial Heritage in Africa," Arbetsrapport 2010:10, Institute for Futures Studies.
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