Taxation and Development: What Have We Learned from Fifty Years of Research?
We have learned a great deal about taxation and development over the last half-century. However, we still have much to learn. Even the best research answers to particular questions have usually turned out to be extremely difficult to apply in practice. Over the past fifty years what might be called the standard approach to tax and development has undergone a number of major model changes over the years but no magical fiscal medicine suitable for all has been found. In this brief paper I first attempt to provide a perspective on a half century of work and then to note some questions that seem to call for more research. I emphasize that even the best research is only one of many inputs in shaping public policy and suggest that to some extent the task we face is perhaps not so much to improve research on tax and development as it is to improve how we market what we learn to those who can, if they wish, put the knowledge to use. What is needed is less a non-existent ‘universal fix’ than a fiscal medicine kit containing a variety of remedies and treatments that may help developing countries to cope with the wide variety of fiscal problems that arise at different times and often in different ways.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2011.
"The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9781107401440.
- Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2007. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521877657.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 147-174, Fall.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 15071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew C. Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-140, Harvard Business School.
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- Alvin Rabushka, 2008. "Introduction to Taxation in Colonial America," Introductory Chapters,in: Taxation in Colonial America Princeton University Press.
- Bahl, Roy W. & Bird, Richard M., 2008. "Tax Policy in Developing Countries: Looking Back—and Forward," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(2), pages 279-301, June.
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- Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Richard M. Bird, 2011. "Value-Added Tax: Onward and Upward?," Chapters,in: The Elgar Guide to Tax Systems, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Richard M. Bird, 2010. "Value Added Tax: Onward and Upward?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1026, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2005. "The limited role of the personal income tax in developing countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 928-946, December.
- Breton,Albert, 1996. "Competitive Governments," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521481021. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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