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Are global taxes feasible?

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  • Richard M. Bird

    () (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Abstract Over the years, many proposals for global taxes—taxes levied on a worldwide basis—have been made. None has been successful, essentially because one cannot have global taxes without a global government. This paper first reviews some major global taxes that have been proposed and then considers whether experience in two other spheres in which countries deal with each other to resolve fiscal questions—the financing of international organizations and international taxation (how national taxes deal with cross-border flows)—offers any lessons about the feasibility of a global tax. Since countries have little appetite for giving up fiscal sovereignty or for explicitly redistributive fiscal arrangements, most past global tax proposals had little or no prospect of success. But less ambitious attempts to develop a more ‘global’ approach to taxation through a transparent process that involves most who are affected, provides them some demonstrable benefit to all, and remains firmly under national control may perhaps over time move us a bit closer toward achieving the better world that global tax proponents presumably wish to achieve.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard M. Bird, 2018. "Are global taxes feasible?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(5), pages 1372-1400, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-018-9487-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-018-9487-2
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Global tax; International taxation; Financing international organizations; Supranational taxation; Tax policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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