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Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries

  • Richard M. Bird

    ()

Most developing countries continue to face serious problems in developing adequate and responsive tax systems. This paper reviews the three principal ways in which developing countries may expand and improve their taxation systems - base-broadening, rate reduction, and administrative improvement - in the context of the political economy of tax reform. While each of these paths to reform is essential, in the end what 50 years of experience tells us is that improving the transparency and understanding with which fiscal issues are discussed by all relevant players, both within and outside government, is the really essential ingredient to developing viable and sustainable tax systems in developing countries. Such institution-building activities are not a boring bit of infrastructure to be brushed aside in order to get into the real business of making this or that substantive reform in tax policy or administration: they are the "real business" with which serious tax reformers in any country should be most concerned.[IIB WP]

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:1618
Note: Institutional Papers
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  1. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Cárdenas, 2006. "La Reforma de las Instituciones Fiscales en América Latina," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7647, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  3. 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.
  4. Richard M. Bird, 2003. "Administrative Dimensions of Tax Reform," International Tax Program Papers 0302, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised May 2003.
  5. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521021807 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 301-351, May.
  9. Richard M Bird & Eric M Zolt, 2008. "Tax policy in emerging countries," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 26(1), pages 73-86, February.
  10. Peter Lindert, 2004. "Social Spending and Economic Growth," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(4), pages 6-16, July.
  11. Cnossen, Sijbren (ed.), 2005. "Theory and Practice of Excise Taxation: Smoking, Drinking, Gambling, Polluting, and Driving," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199278596, March.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521877657 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fairness and Redistribution: US versus Europe," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1983, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack (ed.), 2004. "International Handbook of Land and Property Taxation," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3304, December.
  15. Toye, John, 2000. "Fiscal Crisis and Fiscal Reform in Developing Countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 21-44, January.
  16. Richard M. Bird, 2006. "Taxing Land and Property in Emerging Economies: Raising Revenue...and More?," International Tax Program Papers 0605, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  17. Peter H. Lindert, 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," NBER Working Papers 9749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Attacks!," IMF Working Papers 07/142, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Jack A. Goldstone, 2007. "Jack Goldstone on Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(3), pages 207-225, July.
  20. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines Jr., 2001. "Taxation and Economic Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 8181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Is It Really so Hard to Tax the Hard-to-Tax? The Context and Role of Presumptive Taxes," International Tax Program Papers 0307, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  22. Graziella Bertocchi, 2007. "The vanishing bequest tax. The Comparative Evolution of Bequest Taxation in Historical Perspective," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 005, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  23. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521622912 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Morisset, Jacques & Izquierdo, Alejandro, 1993. "Effects of tax reform on Argentina's revenues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1192, The World Bank.
  25. Shah, Anwar & Whalley, John, 1991. "Tax Incidence Analysis of Developing Countries: An Alternative View," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(3), pages 535-52, September.
  26. Richard M. Bird, 2005. "Evaluating Public Expenditures: Does It Matter How They are Financed?," International Tax Program Papers 0506, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  27. Warlters, Michael & Auriol, Emmanuelle, 2005. "The marginal cost of public funds in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3679, The World Bank.
  28. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
  29. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
  30. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2001. "Mexico: An Evaluation of the Main Features of the Tax System," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0112, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  31. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," International Tax Program Papers 0411, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  32. Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Taxation Policy in Low-Income Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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