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Democratisation and tax structure: Greece versus Europe from a historical perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Vassilis Sarantides

    () (University of Sheffield)

  • Pantelis Kammas

    () (University of Ioannina)

Abstract

"This paper focuses mainly on the effects of democratisation on the size and the composition of tax revenues in Greece during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Our analysis builds on a unique tax dataset that contains 13 different tax categories of the Greek state over the period 1833-1933. Empirical analysis suggests that the radical reform that enfranchised all adult males in Greece in 1864 did not affect the level of taxation, but did exert a significant impact on its structure. More precisely, universal male suffrage was accompanied by an amazing reduction in rural taxes (e.g., taxes on land) and remarkable increases in indirect taxes – mostly in custom and excises duties. These findings clearly indicate that there were political economy motives behind this shift in the implemented fiscal policy. In particular, the Greek governments changed the structure of taxation in order to satisfy the large majority of the electorate, who were peasants and farmers, ensuring a minimum level of social cohesion. Subsequently, focusing on a sample of 12 Western European countries over the same period, findings indicate that the phase of economic development induced a differentiated effect of democratisation on the size and the structure of taxation."

Suggested Citation

  • Vassilis Sarantides & Pantelis Kammas, 2017. "Democratisation and tax structure: Greece versus Europe from a historical perspective," Working Papers 17008, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:17008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hatgioannides, John & Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Karanasos, Menelaos G. & Koutroumpis, Panagiotis, 2017. "The legacy of a fractured Eurozone: the Greek Dra(ch)ma," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84542, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    democracy; tax structure; fiscal capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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