IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cbt/econwp/18-09.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taxes and Economic Growth in OECD Countries: A Meta-Analysis

Author

Listed:

Abstract

This paper uses meta-analysis to evaluate the results of 42 studies and 641 individual estimates of the effect of taxes on economic growth in OECD countries. Our analysis addresses a number of difficult coding issues such as: implications of the government budget constraint for interpretations of tax effects; units of measurement for economic growth rates and tax rates; implications of equation specifications that measure short-run, medium-run, and long-run effects; length of time period (annual data versus multi-year periods); and other factors. Our main findings are: Estimates in the literature are characterized by significant (negative) publication bias. After controlling for publication bias, we find that tax policies predicted by growth theory to be growth-retarding, such as the use of distortionary taxes to fund unproductive expenditures, are significantly associated with lower economic growth. Tax polices predicted to be growth-enhancing, such as the use of non-distortionary taxes to fund productive expenditures, are significantly associated with higher economic growth. The estimated differences in these policies indicate that there is scope for tax policy to have a meaningful impact on economic growth. Finally, we find weak evidence that taxes on labour are particularly growth-inhibiting, while the evidence for other types of taxes is mixed.

Suggested Citation

  • Nazila Alinaghi & W. Robert Reed, 2018. "Taxes and Economic Growth in OECD Countries: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 18/09, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:18/09
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/1809.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tomas Havranek & Zuzana Irsova, 2012. "Survey Article: Publication Bias in the Literature on Foreign Direct Investment Spillovers," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(10), pages 1375-1396, October.
    2. Xing, Jing, 2012. "Tax structure and growth: How robust is the empirical evidence?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 379-382.
    3. Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2004. "Meta-analysis of the effect of fiscal policies on long-run growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 91-124, March.
    4. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1999. "Growth and the public sector: A reply," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 359-366, June.
    5. Stephen M. Miller & Frank S. Russek, 1997. "Fiscal Structures and Economic Growth at the State and Local Level," Public Finance Review, , vol. 25(2), pages 213-237, March.
    6. T.D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos & Margaret Giles & Jost H. Heckemeyer & Robert J. Johnston & Patrice Laroche & Jon P. Nelson & Martin Paldam & Jacques Poot & Geoff Pugh & Randall S. Rosenberger & , 2013. "Meta-Analysis Of Economics Research Reporting Guidelines," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 390-394, April.
    7. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
    8. Dackehag , Margareta & Hansson, Åsa, 2012. "Taxation of Income and Economic Growth: An Empirical Analysis of 25 Rich OECD Countries," Working Papers 2012:6, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    9. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
    10. António Afonso & Juan Alegre, 2011. "Economic growth and budgetary components: a panel assessment for the EU," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 703-723, December.
    11. Bernhard Heitger, 1993. "Convergence, the “tax-state” and economic dynamics," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 129(2), pages 254-274, June.
    12. Andrea Bassanini & Stefano Scarpetta & Philip Hemmings, 2001. "Economic Growth: The Role of Policies and Institutions: Panel Data. Evidence from OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 283, OECD Publishing.
    13. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1501-1520, August.
    14. Hristos Doucouliagos & Janto Haman & T.D. Stanley, 2012. "Pay for Performance and Corporate Governance Reform," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 670-703, July.
    15. Andreas Bergh & Martin Karlsson, 2010. "Government size and growth: Accounting for economic freedom and globalization," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 195-213, January.
    16. Widmalm, Frida, 2001. "Tax Structure and Growth: Are Some Taxes Better Than Others?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(3-4), pages 199-219, June.
    17. Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller & Ismael Sanz, 2014. "The growth effects of tax rates in the OECD," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1217-1255, November.
    18. Alesina, Alberto Francesco & Ardagna, Silvia, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," Scholarly Articles 22801844, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    19. Bania, Neil & Gray, Jo Anna & Stone, Joe A., 2007. "Growth, Taxes, and Government Expenditures: Growth Hills for U.S. States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(2), pages 193-204, June.
    20. Jing Xing, 2011. "Does tax structure affect economic growth? Empirical evidence from OECD countries," Working Papers 1120, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    21. Doucouliagos, Chris & Stanley, T.D. & Giles, Margaret, 2012. "Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 197-206.
    22. Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller & Ismael Sanz, 2011. "The Timing and Persistence of Fiscal Policy Impacts on Growth: Evidence from OECD Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages 33-58, February.
    23. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, April.
    24. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1992. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 645-661.
    25. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Economides, George & Kammas, Pantelis, 2007. "Tax-spending policies and economic growth: Theoretical predictions and evidence from the OECD," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 885-902, December.
    26. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:1:p:165-192 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. "Growth and the public sector: a critique of the critics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 337-358, June.
    28. Miller, Stephen M & Russek, Frank S, 1997. "Fiscal Structures and Economic Growth: International Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 603-613, July.
    29. Stanley, T. D. & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2013. "Better than random: weighted least squares meta-regression analysis," Working Papers eco_2013_2, Deakin University, Department of Economics.
    30. Futagami, Koichi & Morita, Yuichi & Shibata, Akihisa, 1993. " Dynamic Analysis of an Endogenous Growth Model with Public Capital," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 607-625, December.
    31. António Afonso & João Tovar Jalles, 2014. "Fiscal composition and long-term growth," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 349-358, January.
    32. Sebastian Gechert, 2015. "What fiscal policy is most effective? A meta-regression analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 553-580.
    33. Bjørn Volkerink & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2002. "Tax Ratios in Macroeconomics: Do Taxes Really Matter?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 209-224, September.
    34. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    35. Muinelo-Gallo, Leonel & Roca-Sagalés, Oriol, 2013. "Joint determinants of fiscal policy, income inequality and economic growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 814-824.
    36. Dimitrios Paparas & Christian Richter, 2015. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: Empirical evidence from the European Union," Working Papers 2015.06, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
    37. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    38. Michael Bleaney & Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller, 2001. "Testing the endogenous growth model: public expenditure, taxation, and growth over the long run," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(1), pages 36-57, February.
    39. Benos, Nikos, 2009. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: empirical evidence from EU countries," MPRA Paper 19174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    40. Afonso, António & Furceri, Davide, 2010. "Government size, composition, volatility and economic growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 517-532, December.
    41. Hristos Doucouliagos & T. D. Stanley, 2009. "Publication Selection Bias in Minimum‐Wage Research? A Meta‐Regression Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 406-428, June.
    42. 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 59-80, February.
    43. António Afonso & João Tovar Jalles, 2014. "Fiscal composition and long-term growth," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 349-358, January.
    44. Agell, Jonas & Ohlsson, Henry & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2006. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries: A comment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 211-218, January.
    45. Georgios Karras, 1999. "Taxes And Growth: Testing The Neoclassical And Endogenous Growth Models," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(2), pages 177-188, April.
    46. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    47. C. Colombier, 2009. "Growth effects of fiscal policies: an application of robust modified M-estimator," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(7), pages 899-912.
    48. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    49. Georgios Karras & Davide Furceri, 2009. "Taxes and Growth in Europe," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 7(2), pages 181-204.
    50. 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.
    51. Dimitrios PAPARAS & Christian RICHTER & Alexandros PAPARAS, 2015. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth, Empirical Evidence in European Union," Turkish Economic Review, KSP Journals, vol. 2(4), pages 239-268, December.
    52. 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.
    53. Vincent Belinga & Dora Benedek & Ruud A. de Mooij & John Norregaard, 2014. "Tax Buoyancy in OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 14/110, International Monetary Fund.
    54. Romero-Ávila, Diego & Strauch, Rolf, 2008. "Public finances and long-term growth in Europe: Evidence from a panel data analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 172-191, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Meta-analysis; taxes; economic growth; OECD;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:18/09. 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: (Albert Yee). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/decannz.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.