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Tax Policy and Tax Research in Canada

In: The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater

  • Richard Bird
  • Michael Smart

In a survey of tax reform in recent years, Richard Bird and Michael Smart explore the relationship between tax policy and tax research. They conclude that there have been important examples of apparent influences of research on policy. For instance, they are encouraged that the downward pressure on personal and corporate taxes has certainly been supported, if not initiated, by the increasing evidence of distortions caused by high marginal tax rates. In their view, the adoption of the GST can be explained by the acceptance of the federal government of the economic argument that Canada had to switch to a value-added tax to reduce economic distortions. On the other hand, they are disappointed that the equally convincing economic studies of the damage done by poorly-designed excise, property and payroll taxes do not seem to have had any effect. Consequently, they believe that political economy factors were probably the more dominant explanation of the tax reforms than the simple acceptance of advice from economists. Their conclusion is that if economists want to have a greater influence on policy, they need to pay more attention to the issues that motivate policymakers, including, most notably, distributional issues, and they need to write in a way, and in a forum, that will most likely come to the notice of the policy-makers.

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This chapter was published in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.) The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, pages 59-78, 2001.
This item is provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its series The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater with number 04.
Handle: RePEc:sls:secfds:04
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  1. Chun-Yan Kuo & Thomas Mcgirr & Satya Poddar, 1988. "Measuring the Non-Neutralities of Sales and Excise Taxes in Canada," Development Discussion Papers 1988-08, JDI Executive Programs.
  2. Vaillancourt, F. & Marceau, N., 1989. "Do General And Firm-Specific Employer Payroll Taxes Have The Same Incidence? Theory And Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 8910, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  3. Sillamaa, Mary-Anne & Veall, Michael R., 2001. "The effect of marginal tax rates on taxable income: a panel study of the 1988 tax flattening in Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 341-356, June.
  4. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1995. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 5158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  6. André Raynauld & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 1992. "Smokers' Burden on Society: Myth and Reality in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 18(3), pages 300-317, September.
  7. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. Helliwell, J.F., 1999. "Checking the Brain Drain: Evidence and Implications," Papers 99-3, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  9. Harberger, Arnold C, 1993. "The Search for Relevance in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 1-16, May.
  10. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  11. Grady, Patrick, 1990. "An Analysis of the Distributional Impact of the Goods and Services Tax," MPRA Paper 13144, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Zodrow, George R., 2001. "The Property Tax as a Capital Tax: A Room with Three Views," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 139-56, March.
  13. John Whalley, 1984. "Regression or Progression: The Taxing Question of Incidence Analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 654-82, November.
  14. Fischel, William A., 2001. "Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and the Benefit View of the Property Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 157-74, March.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521021807 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. James B. Davies & Junsen Zhang, 1996. "Measuring Marginal Income Tax Rates for Individuals in Canada: Averages and Distributions over Time," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 959-75, November.
  17. Grady, Patrick, 1991. "The Distributional Impact of the Goods and Services Tax: A Reply to Gillespie," MPRA Paper 13246, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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