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Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector

  • Ronald B. Davies

    ()

    (University College Dublin)

  • Lourenço S. Paz

    (Syracuse University)

The debate over the use of tariffs or value added taxes in developing countries has focused on the difficulty of collecting VAT from the informal sector of the economy. This paper contributes by considering this issue with heterogeneous firms and endogenous entry. This yields two new results. First, a cut in the tariff in and of itself can reduce the size of the informal sector. Second, the imposition of a VAT need not increase the number of informal firms. In fact, for many parameterizations of the model, higher VAT reduces informality. Despite this, whether a revenue neutral shift from tariffs to VAT increases or decreases welfare depends on the parametrization. Therefore while this move may be welfare improving in some cases, it is not a one-size fits all policy.

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Paper provided by Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation in its series Working Papers with number 1006.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1006
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  1. Ellingsen, Tore & Warneryd, Karl, 1999. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Political Economy of Protection," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 357-79, May.
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  5. Gatti, Roberta & Honorati, Maddalena, 2007. "Informality among Formal Firms: Firm-level, Cross-country Evidence on Tax Compliance and Access to Credit," CEPR Discussion Papers 6597, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  19. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
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