IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do political incentives matter for tax policies? Ideology, opportunism and the tax structure

  • Konstantinos Angelopoulos
  • George Economides
  • Pantelis Kammas

This paper investigates the importance of political ideology and opportunism in the choice of the tax structure. In particular, we examine the effects of cabinet ideology and elections on the distribution of the tax burden across factors of production and consumption for 21 OECD countries over the period 1970-2000 by employing four alternative cabinet ideology measures and by using the methodology of effective tax rates. There is evidence of both opportunistic and partisan effects on tax policies. More precisely, we find that left-wing governments rely more on capital relative to labor income taxation and that they tend to increase consumption taxes. Moreover, we find that income tax rates (but not consumption taxes) tend to be reduced in pre-electoral periods and that capital effective tax rates (defined broadly to include taxes on self-employed income) are reduced by more than effective labor tax rates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2009_12.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2009_12
Contact details of provider: Postal: Adam Smith Building, Glasgow G12 8RT
Phone: 0141 330 4618
Fax: 0141 330 4940
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Perotti, Roberto & Kontopoulos, Yianos, 2002. "Fragmented fiscal policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 191-222, November.
  2. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete over Corporate Tax Rates?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Haufler, Andreas, 1997. "Factor taxation, income distribution and capital market integration," Munich Reprints in Economics 20390, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  6. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
  8. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & George Economides, 2008. "Fiscal policy, rent seeking, and growth under electoral uncertainty: theory and evidence from the OECD," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1375-1405, November.
  9. Volkerink, Bjorn & De Haan, Jakob, 2001. " Fragmented Government Effects on Fiscal Policy: New Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(3-4), pages 221-42, December.
  10. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
  11. Kneebone, R.D. & McKenzie, K.J., 1998. "Electoral and Partisan Cycles in Fiscal Policy: an Examination of Canadian Provinces," Papers 98-06, Calgary - Department of Economics.
  12. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Openness, Country Size and Government," Scholarly Articles 4553014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Hettich, W. & Winter, S.L., 1993. "The Political Economy of Taxation," Papers 93-2, Carleton - Business Administration.
  14. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2004. "Horizontal and Vertical Indirect Tax Competition: Theory and Some Evidence From the USA," CEPR Discussion Papers 4470, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Tavares, Jose, 2004. "Does right or left matter? Cabinets, credibility and fiscal adjustments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2447-2468, December.
  16. repec:bla:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:3:p:403-14 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
  18. Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2004. "What has been the tax competition experience of the past 20 years?," IFS Working Papers W04/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Lockwood, Ben & Makris, Miltiadis, 2006. "Tax incidence, majority voting and capital market integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1007-1025, August.
  20. Ashworth, John & Heyndels, Bruno, 2002. " Tax Structure Turbulence in OECD Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(3-4), pages 347-76, June.
  21. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1992. "The Politics of 1992: Fiscal Policy and European Integration," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 689-701.
  22. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
  23. Thomas Bräuninger, 2005. "A partisan model of government expenditure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 409-429, December.
  24. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
  25. Jochen Mierau & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jakob de Haan, 2007. "Do political variables affect fiscal policy adjustment decisions? New empirical evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 297-319, December.
  26. Reed, W. Robert, 2006. "Democrats, republicans, and taxes: Evidence that political parties matter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 725-750, May.
  27. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Hannes Winner, 2005. "Has Tax Competition Emerged in OECD Countries? Evidence from Panel Data," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 667-687, September.
  29. Lockwood, Ben & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Snell, Andy, 1996. "Fiscal Policy, Public Debt Stabilisation and Politics: Theory and UK Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 894-911, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2009_12. 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: (Jeanette Findlay)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.