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Subnational Taxation in Large Emerging Countries: BRIC Plus One

  • Richard M. Bird


    (University of Toronto)

This paper reviews the evolution and current state of subnational taxation in five large emerging countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Nigeria – BRIC plus one. As these case studies show, intergovernmental fiscal relations in any country are inevitably both path-dependent and context-sensitive. In India and Brazil, for example, subnational governments already have a significant degree of fiscal autonomy in terms of being able to set some key tax rates. In both countries, however, substantial attention still must be paid to improving the general consumption taxes that are the main source of regional government revenues as well as the property taxes on which local governments mainly depend. Although Nigeria, like India and Brazil, is a federation, its fiscal system depends so heavily on oil revenues that almost all political attention has been focused on securing a bigger share of these revenues. Both China and Russia have made a number of important changes in the direction of centralizing rather than decentralizing effective control over subnational taxes. In both countries the key issue is the extent to which fiscal decentralization is to be accompanied by any significant political decentralization. At the present time, in neither China nor Russia is it clear that the central authorities are willing to permit subnational governments much autonomy in this respect.

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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 paper1201.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1201
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  2. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "Value Added Taxes, Chain Effects and Informality," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-030, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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  4. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack (ed.), 2004. "International Handbook of Land and Property Taxation," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3304, March.
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  7. Jorge Martinez-Vasquez & Jameson Boex, 2001. "Russia's Transition to a New Federalism," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15248, September.
  8. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2003. "Asymmetric Federalism in Russia: Cure or Poison?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0304, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  9. Facchini, Giovanni & Testa, Cecilia, 2008. "Fiscal decentralization, regional inequality and bail-outs: Lessons from Brazil's debt crisis," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 333-344, May.
  10. Roy Bahl & Eunice Heredia-Ortiz & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2005. "India: Fiscal Condition of the States, International Experience,and Options for Reform: Volume 1," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper05141, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Migara O. De Silva & Galina Kurlyandskaya & Elena Andreeva & Natalia Golovanova, 2009. "Intergovernmental Reforms in the Russian Federation : One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2668, September.
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