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Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries

  • Richard Bird

    ()

    (University of Toronto)

Taxes matter. We all know we need them to pay for public services. But most of us complain about them -- exercise our "voice" -- and often try to dodge them -- to "exit" -- when we can. Those who design and implement tax systems, like those who try to escape them, for the most part consider themselves to be eminently ‘practical’ people responding to the world around them as they see it. As John Maynard Keynes (1936, 384-85) once said, however, “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite free from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist…..soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.” While true to some extent, at least when it comes to taxes this dictum both unduly flatters economists and puts too little weight on interests and other factors. Tax policy everywhere is shaped not only by ideas and vested interests but also by changing economic conditions, administrative constraints and technological possibilities, and, especially, the political institutions within which these factors are at play.

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File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/files/2015/03/ispwp0802.pdf
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Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0802.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0802
Contact details of provider: Phone: 404-413-0235
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Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html

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  12. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-21, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  13. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Attacks!," IMF Working Papers 07/142, International Monetary Fund.
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  29. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Is It Really so Hard to Tax the Hard-to-Tax? The Context and Role of Presumptive Taxes," International Tax Program Papers 0307, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
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