IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Growth-Inequality Tradeo in the Design of Tax Structure: Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries

This paper examines the potential tradeo between economic growth and income inequality in the design of tax structure by using a structural model and a large panel data set of 150 developed and developing countries for the period 1970-2009. Tax structure, which is treated as an endogenous variable in the estimations, is comprehensively proxied by a series of indicators, including major tax categories measured in both levels and rates, an index for overall tax mix, and an index for tax progressivity. While we nd clear evidence of a tradeo between growth and inequality for some key tax instruments (e.g. income taxes), it appears that this tradeo may be avoided in the design of a few other taxes (e.g. excise taxes). Nevertheless, from a policy perspective, due either to the relative small estimated marginal effects or to the actual small changes in the size of tax instruments, the overall growth and distributional impacts of the changes in tax structure over the past decades have not been very large.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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 paper1320.

in new window

Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1320
Contact details of provider: Phone: 404-413-0235
Fax: 404-413-0244
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Baunsgaard, Thomas & Keen, Michael, 2010. "Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 563-577, October.
  2. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  4. Jens Matthias Arnold & Bert Brys & Christopher Heady & Åsa Johansson & Cyrille Schwellnus & Laura Vartia, 2011. "Tax Policy for Economic Recovery and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F59-F80, February.
  5. Klara Sabirianova Peter & Steve Buttrick & Denvil Duncan, 2007. "Global Reform of Personal Income Taxation, 1981-2005: Evidence from 189 Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0721, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  6. John Wildman, 2001. "The impact of income inequality on individual and societal health: absolute income, relative income and statistical artefacts," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 357-361.
  7. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  9. Xavier Ramos & Oriol Roca-Sagales, 2008. "Long-Term Effects of Fiscal Policy on the Size and Distribution of the Pie in the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(3), pages 387-411, 09.
  10. Attinasi, Maria-Grazia & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rieth, Malte, 2011. "Labour tax progressivity and output volatility: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Series 1380, European Central Bank.
  11. James M. Poterba & Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Tax-Based Test for Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 1627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Padovano, Fabio & Galli, Emma, 2002. "Comparing the growth effects of marginal vs. average tax rates and progressivity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 529-544, September.
  14. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
  15. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  16. Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2012. "Joint determinants of fiscal policy, income inequality and economic growth," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-04, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  17. Ruud A. de Mooij & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2007. "Corporate Tax Policy and Incorporation in the EU," Working Papers 0716, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  18. Eduardo Engel & Alexander Galetovic & Claudio Raddatz, 1998. "Taxes and Income Distribution in Chile: Some Unpleasant Redistributive Arithmetic," Documentos de Trabajo 41, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  19. Fisman, Raymond & Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Are corruption and taxation really harmful to growth? - firm-level evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2485, The World Bank.
  20. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Xavier Debrun & Radhicka Kapoor, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Stability: Automatic Stabilizers Work, Always and Everywhere," IMF Working Papers 10/111, International Monetary Fund.
  22. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
  23. Atkinson, A. B. & Stern, N. H., 1980. "On the switch from direct to indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 195-224, October.
  24. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "The Future of Capital Income Taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 399-420, December.
  25. Christian E. Weller, 2007. "The Benefits of Progressive Taxation in Economic Development," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 368-376, September.
  26. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  27. Joanna Piotrowska & Werner Vanborren, 2008. "The corporate income tax rate-revenue paradox: Evidence in the EU," Taxation Papers 12, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission, revised Oct 2008.
  28. Alvaro Bustos & Eduardo Engel & Alexander Galetovic, 2002. "Could Higher Taxes Increase the Long-Run Demand for Capital?: Theory and Evidences for Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 145, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  29. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. " Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-99, September.
  30. Ruud A. de Mooij & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2007. "Corporate Tax Policy, Entrepreneurship and Incorporation in the EU," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-030/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  31. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
  32. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  33. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic & Yongzheng Liu, 2010. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: Trends, Theory and Economic Significance," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1014, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  34. Leonel Muinelo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2011. "Economic Growth and Inequality: The Role of Fiscal Policies," Working Papers wpdea1105, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  35. Kim, Youngse, 2003. "Income distribution and equilibrium multiplicity in a stigma-based model of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1591-1616, August.
  36. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "The impact of the corporate income tax: evidence from state organizational form data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2283-2299, September.
  37. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2014. "Redistribution via Taxation: The Limited Role of the Personal Income Tax in Developing Countries," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 625-683, November.
  38. Lee, Young & Gordon, Roger H., 2005. "Tax structure and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 1027-1043, June.
  39. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  40. Moreno-Dodson, Blanca & Wodon, Quentin, 2008. "Public Finance for Poverty Reduction: An Overview," MPRA Paper 11078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  41. Cecilia García-Pe�Alosa & Stephen J. Turnovsky, 2007. "Growth, Income Inequality, and Fiscal Policy: What Are the Relevant Trade-offs?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 369-394, 03.
  42. Padovano, Fabio & Galli, Emma, 2001. "Tax Rates and Economic Growth in the OECD Countries (1950-1990)," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(1), pages 44-57, January.
  43. Duncan, Denvil & Peter, Klara Sabirianova, 2012. "Unequal Inequalities: Do Progressive Taxes Reduce Income Inequality?," IZA Discussion Papers 6910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  44. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Li Wenli & Pierre -Daniel Sarte, 2004. "Progressive Taxation and Long-Run Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1705-1716, December.
  46. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  47. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
  48. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2001. "The Impact of Budgets on the Poor: Tax and Benefit," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0110, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1320. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paul Benson)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.