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Tax Ratios in Macroeconomics: Do Taxes Really Matter?


  • Bjørn Volkerink
  • Jan-Egbert Sturm
  • Jakob de Haan



In various empirical studies so-called tax ratios (tax revenues expressed as a ratio of some aggregate tax base) are employed as approximations for tax burdens. The most difficult problem in calculating tax ratios is the way in which personal income tax revenues are attributed to labor and capital. We argue that the methodology of Mendoza et al. (1994) is seriously flawed in this respect. Using information from national sources, we calculate more accurate tax ratios for eight OECD countries that differ substantially from those of Mendoza et al. (1997) and which are also differently related to various economic variables.
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  • Bjørn Volkerink & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2002. "Tax Ratios in Macroeconomics: Do Taxes Really Matter?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 209-224, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:29:y:2002:i:3:p:209-224 DOI: 10.1023/A:1020251725916

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
    2. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1501-1520, August.
    3. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    4. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, April.
    5. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
    6. Enrique G. Mendoza & Linda L. Tesar, 1995. "Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 5086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    8. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    9. Mendoza, Enrique G & Tesar, Linda L, 1998. "The International Ramifications of Tax Reforms: Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 226-245, March.
    10. Nazrul Islam, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-1170.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael P. Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2013. "What Do We Know About Corporate Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(3), pages 745-774, September.
    2. Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor & Seegmuller, Thomas, 2014. "Market distortions and local indeterminacy: A general approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 216-247.
    3. Dreher, Axel, 2006. "The influence of globalization on taxes and social policy: An empirical analysis for OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 179-201, March.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Austria; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 04/237, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Murat Üngör, 2014. "Average effective tax rates on consumption for Turkey: New data and a comparative analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 567-580.
    6. Sourafel Girma, 2005. "Absorptive Capacity and Productivity Spillovers from FDI: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(3), pages 281-306, June.
    7. Greenaway, David & Foster, Neil, 2002. "North-South Trade, Knowledge Spillovers and Growth," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 17, pages 650-670.
    8. Nazila Alinaghi & W. Robert Reed, 2016. "Taxes and Economic Growth in OECD Countries: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 16/37, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    9. Cyntia Freitas Azevedo & Angelo Marsiglia Fasolo, 2015. "Effective Tax Rates on Consumption and Factor Incomes: a quarterly frequency estimation for Brazil," Working Papers Series 398, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    10. Jaime Turrion & Carmela Martin, 2003. "Eastern Enlargement of the European Union and Foreign Direct Investment Adjustments," European Economy Group Working Papers 24, European Economy Group.
    11. Jorge Crespo & Carmela Martin & Francisco Javier Velázquez, 2002. "International technology diffusion through imports and its impact on economic growth," European Economy Group Working Papers 12, European Economy Group.
    12. Horst Feldmann, 2006. "Government Size and Unemployment: Evidence from Industrial Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 443-459, June.


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