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On the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries

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  • Knud J., MUNK

Abstract

Contrary to what is implied by the so called “Wahsington consensus”, Stiglitz (2003) has argued that in the least developed countries border taxes are superior to VAT. However, supported by much respectable research, the IMF and World Bank’s recommend that developing countries substitute VAT for border taxes. The present paper provides an easy to implement parameterised general equilibrium model which may be used as the basis for empirical research, required to reach a consensus opinion within the profession on the issue. The model allows for the fact that different tax systems are associated with different administrative costs, and represents the informal sector as a parameterisation, the CES-UT, of a utility function with explicit representation of the use of time. By means of a quantitative example, it illustrates, on the one hand, that a large informal sector in itself does not justify the use of border taxes, but, on the other hand, when administrative costs of taxation are taken into account, that the size of the informal sector, as claimed as Stiglitz (2003), is indeed important for whether the use of border taxes is desirable or not.

Suggested Citation

  • Knud J., MUNK, 2008. "On the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008005, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques, revised 29 Jul 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvec:2008005
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    File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2008-005-REVISE.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. E. Stiglitz & P. Dasgupta, 1971. "Differential Taxation, Public Goods, and Economic Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 151-174.
    2. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
    3. Knud J., MUNK, 2008. "Welfare Effects of Tax and Price Changes Revisited," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008006, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    4. Knud Munk, 2008. "Tax-tariff reform with costs of tax administration," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(6), pages 647-667, December.
    5. Gardner, Grant W & Kimbrough, Kent P, 1992. "Tax Regimes, Tariff Revenues and Government Spending," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(233), pages 75-92, February.
    6. repec:ete:ceswps:ces9827 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Knud Jørgen Munk, 1980. "Optimal Taxation with some Non-Taxable Commodities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 755-765.
    8. Munk, Knud Jorgen, 1978. " Optimal Taxation and Pure Profit," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 80(1), pages 1-19.
    9. Knud Jørgen Munk & Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, 2005. "On the Determinants of Optimal Border Taxes for a Small Open Economy," Economics Working Papers 2005-22, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Keen, 2009. "What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 159-170, March.
    2. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2012. "The marginal cost of public funds and tax reform in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 58-72.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal trade policy; VAT; tax-tariff reform; costs of tax administration; informal sector; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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