Direct versus Indirect Taxation: Trends, Theory and Economic Significance
One of the oldest questions in the theory and practice of taxation is that of the appropriate mix of direct and indirect taxes. The choice between direct and indirect taxes has contributed to a long animated debate, in political and academic circles, regarding the virtues and defects of those two forms of taxation. In this paper we provide an overview of the evolution of the ratio of direct taxes to indirect taxes across countries over the past three decades, the theorizing that has gone behind the alleged superiority of one form of taxation or the other, the determinants that appear to be behind the intensity with which both forms of taxation are used, and the economic relevance of the choice of tax structure in terms of economic growth, macroeconomic stability, the distribution of income, and the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI).
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