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Economic effects of VAT reforms in Germany

  • Stefan Boeters
  • Christoph Bohringer
  • Thiess Buttner
  • Margit Kraus

In the tax policy debate, differentiation of value-added taxes (VAT) is often justified by distributional concerns. Our quantitative analysis for Germany indicates that such concerns are misplaced. We find that the abolition of VAT differentiation has only negligible redistributive effects. Instead, reduced VAT rates are found to act as industry-specific subsidies. Whereas the overall welfare effects of pure VAT reforms are very small, a revenue-neutral introduction of a harmonized VAT combined with reductions in the marginal income tax rates or social security contributions turns out to yield substantial welfare gains for all households.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 17 ()
Pages: 2165-2182

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:42:y:2010:i:17:p:2165-2182
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  1. Keen, Michael & Mintz, Jack, 2004. "The optimal threshold for a value-added tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 559-576, March.
  2. Boeters, Stefan & Böhringer, Christoph & Feil, Michael, 2002. "Taxation and unemployment: an applied general equilibrium approach for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-39, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Gottfried, Peter & Wiegard, Wolfgang, 1991. "Exemption versus zero rating : A hidden problem of VAT," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 307-328, December.
  4. de Mooij, Ruud A & Ederveen, Sjef, 2003. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 10(6), pages 673-93, November.
  5. Bob Hamilton & John Whalley, 1989. "Reforming Indirect Taxes in Canada: Some General Equilibrium Estimates," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(3), pages 561-75, August.
  6. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
  7. Christoph Böhringer & Andreas Lange, 2005. "Economic Implications of Alternative Allocation Schemes for Emission Allowances," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 563-581, 09.
  8. Peter B. Dixon & Maureen T. Rimmer, 1999. "Changes in Indirect Taxes in Australia: A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 32(4), pages 327-348.
  9. Kenneth R. French & James M. Poterba, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 3609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Turid Åvitsland & Jørgen Aasness, 2004. "Combining CGE and microsimulation models: Effects on equality of VAT reforms," Discussion Papers 392, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
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