IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Why Don’t We Tax the Rich? Inequality, Legislative Malapportionment, and Personal Income Taxation around the World

  • Martin Ardanaz
  • Carlos Scartascini

    ()

Personal income taxation remains relatively low in many developing countries despite recent democratic advancement and rapid economic growth; this is hard to reconcile with standard political economy models of taxation. This paper argues that the details of political institutions help to explain these low levels of personal income taxation. In particular, legislative malapportionment enables rich elites to have disproportionate political influence. Because over-represented districts tend to be dominated by parties aligned with the elite, these groups can block legislative attempts to introduce progressive taxes. Using a sample of more than 50 countries (including 17 across Latin America) between 1990 and 2007, this paper finds that i) countries with historically more unequal distributions of wealth and income systematically present higher levels of legislative malapportionment, and ii) higher levels of malapportionment are associated with lower shares of personal income taxes in GDP.

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: http://www.iadb.org/research/pub_hits.cfm?pub_id=36555179
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4724.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4724
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1300 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20577

Phone: 202-623-1000
Web page: http://www.iadb.org/res
Email:


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. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  2. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  3. Trebbi, Francesco & Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto, 2008. "Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities," Scholarly Articles 4551793, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  5. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
  6. Samuels, David & Snyder, Richard, 2001. "The Value of a Vote: Malapportionment in Comparative Perspective," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 651-671, October.
  7. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
  9. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2003. "Endogenous Constitutions," Seminar Papers 726, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  10. Persson, T. & Roland, G. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Papers 633, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
  12. Paul, Gilles Saint & Verdier, Thierry, 1996. "Inequality, redistribution and growth: A challenge to the conventional political economy approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 719-728, April.
  13. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
  14. 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.
  15. Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi, 2009. "The Making of Policy: Institutionalized or Not?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 5379, Inter-American Development Bank.
  16. Machado, Fabiana, 2011. "Inequality, Uncertainty, and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 35665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Mario Mansour & Michael Keen, 2009. "Revenue Mobilization in Sub-Saharan Africa; Challenges from Globalization," IMF Working Papers 09/157, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Mauricio Cárdenas & Didem Tuzemen, 2011. "Under-investment in state capacity: the role of inequality and political instability," Research Working Paper RWP 11-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  19. Paola Profeta & Simona Scabrosetti, 2010. "The Political Economy of Taxation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13258.
  20. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  21. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2004. "The power of information : evidence from a newspaper campaign to reduce capture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3239, The World Bank.
  22. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.
  23. Horiuchi, Yusaku, 2004. "Malapportionment and Income Inequality: A Cross-National Analysis," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 179-183, January.
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:idb:wpaper:4724. 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: (Monica Bazan)

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.