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The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems

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  • George Warskett
  • Stanley Winer
  • Walter Hettich

Abstract

We explore the nature of tax complexity in competitive political systems. The analysis does not rely upon imperfections in the operation of the public sector. Complexity arises in the course of the struggle for office, during which political parties are induced to propose platforms that discriminate carefully among heterogeneous voters. A basic model is enriched by the addition of administration costs and self-selection, factors which limit the ability of any government to discriminate fully. The effect on complexity of inequalities in political influence is also investigated. The analysis suggests that simple tax systems (such as a flat tax or a broadly based tax without special provisions) are not compatible with vigorous political competition. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • George Warskett & Stanley Winer & Walter Hettich, 1998. "The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(2), pages 123-151, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:5:y:1998:i:2:p:123-151
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008669403754
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schunk, Donald & Porca, Sanela, 2005. "State-Local Revenue Diversification, Stability, and Growth: Time Series Evidence," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 35(3), pages 246-265.
    2. Evrenk Haldun, 2009. "A Duopoly Model of Political Agency with Applications to Anti-Corruption Reform," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-38, December.
    3. Claudio Agostini, 2004. "The Effect of Sales Tax Rates on Food Exemptions," ILADES-UAH Working Papers inv155, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business.
    4. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2012. "On the political economics of tax reforms: survey and empirical assessment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 598-624, August.
    5. Evrenk, Haldun, 2008. "Mackerels in the Moonlight: A Duopoly Model of Political Agency," Working Papers 2008-4, Suffolk University, Department of Economics.
    6. Winer, Stanley L. & Hettich, Walter, 1998. "What Is Missed if We Leave Out Collective Choice in the Analysis of Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 373-389, June.
    7. Santhanu Gupta, 2007. "On the Relevance of the Median Voter to Resource Allocation amongst Jurisdictions," Working Papers id:1145, eSocialSciences.
    8. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2012. "On the political economics of tax reforms: survey and empirical assessment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 598-624, August.
    9. Kelly D. Edmiston & Shannon Mudd & Neven T. Valev, 2004. "Incentive Targeting, Influence Peddling, and Foreign Direct Investment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(5), pages 647-660, September.
    10. Volkerink, Bjørn & Haan, Jakob de, 1999. "Political and institutional determinants of the tax mix : an empirical investigation for OECD countries," Research Report 99E05, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    11. Winer, Stanley L. & Hettich, Walter, 1998. "What Is Missed If We Leave Out Collective Choice in the Analysis of Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 373-89, June.
    12. Paola Profeta & Simona Scabrosetti, 2017. "The Political Economy of Taxation in Europe," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 220(1), pages 139-172, March.
    13. Stanley L. Winer & Walter Hettich, 2002. "The Political Economy of Taxation: Positive and Normative Analysis when Collective Choice Matters," Carleton Economic Papers 02-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
    14. Alberto Sole Olle, 1998. "The effects of tax deductibility on the mix of property taxes and use charges: an empirical analysis of the spanish case," Working Papers in Economics 41, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.

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