IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The marginal cost of public funds in closed and small open economies


  • Giuseppe Ruggieri


The efficiency cost of taxation has become an increasingly important consideration in the evaluation of alternative tax policy options. This paper provides a review of estimates of the efficiency costs of taxation and presents some new estimates for small open economies. The available studies suggest that, in closed economies, the distortions from taxation are highest for corporate taxes and lowest for wage taxes. This efficiency ranking of different taxes does not hold in small open economies. It is shown that, in a small open economy, this ranking is reversed. Personal income taxes are less distortionary than wage taxes primarily because the link between domestic saving and investment is severed. Corporate taxes are also less distortionary for a variety of factors, such as changes in depreciation levels, payments to foreigners and terms of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppe Ruggieri, 1999. "The marginal cost of public funds in closed and small open economies," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(1), pages 41-60, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:20:y:1999:i:1:p:41-60

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fullerton, Don & Henderson, Yolanda Kodrzycki, 1989. "The Marginal Excess Burden of Different Capital Tax Instruments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 435-442, August.
    2. Browning, Edgar K, 1976. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 283-298, April.
    3. Ballard, Charles L., 1990. "Marginal welfare cost calculations : Differential analysis vs. balanced-budget analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 263-276, March.
    4. Stuart, Charles E, 1984. "Welfare Costs per Dollar of Additional Tax Revenue in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 352-362, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Karsten Staehr, 2008. "Estimates of employment and welfare effects of personal labour income taxation in a flat-tax country : The case of Estonia," Bank of Estonia Working Papers 2008-03, Bank of Estonia, revised 30 Oct 2008.
    2. Carmen Arguedas & Francisco Cabo & Guiomar Martín-Herrán, 2017. "Optimal Pollution Standards and Non-compliance in a Dynamic Framework," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 537-567, November.
    3. Kristensen, Søren Rud & Siciliani, Luigi & Sutton, Matt, 2016. "Optimal price-setting in pay for performance schemes in health care," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 57-77.
    4. Esther Blanco & Javier Lozano, 2015. "Ecolabels, uncertified abatement, and the sustainability of natural resources: an evolutionary approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 623-647, July.
    5. Mickaël Beaud & Thierry Blayac & Patrice Bougette & Soufiane Khoudmi & Philippe Mahenc & Stéphane Mussard, 2013. "Estimation du coût d'opportunité des fonds publics pour l'économie française," Working Papers halshs-01077141, HAL.
    6. Karsten STAEHR, "undated". "Estimates of Employment and Welfare Effects of Labour Income Taxation in a Country with a Flat: the Case of Estonia," EcoMod2008 23800135, EcoMod.
    7. Arguedas, Carmen & van Soest, Daan P., 2009. "On reducing the windfall profits in environmental subsidy programs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 192-205, September.
    8. Jung, Anna & Thöne, Michael & Elschner, Christina & Ernst, Christof & Overesch, Michael & Bergs, Christian & Schaefer, Thilo, 2009. "Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen. Band 3: Evaluierungsberichte (zweiter Teilband). Endfassung (Herbst 2009). Forschungsauftrag Projektnummer 15/07 des Bundesministeriums der Finanzen," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110522.
    9. Leung Weiwen, 2013. "Benefit-cost analysis of accelerated replacement of Hong Kong’s pre-Euro IV buses," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 335-360, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:20:y:1999:i:1:p:41-60. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Emma Hyman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.