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Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector

Author

Listed:
  • Ronald Davies

    () (University College Dublin, Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Louren Paz

    () (Syracuse University)

Abstract

The debate over the use of tariffs or value added taxes in developing countries has focused on the difficulty of collecting VAT from the informal sector of the economy. This paper contributes by considering this issue with heterogeneous firms and endogenous entry. This yields two new results. First, a cut in the tariff in and of itself can reduce the size of the informal sector. Second, the imposition of a VAT need not increase the number of informal firms. In fact, for many parameterizations of the model, higher VAT reduces informality. Despite this, whether a revenue neutral shift from tariffs to VAT increases or decreases welfare depends on the parametrization. Therefore while this move may be welfare improving in some cases, it is not a one-size fits all policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Davies & Louren Paz, 2010. "Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp323, IIIS, revised Mar 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp323
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bauer, Christian & Davies, Ronald B. & Haufler, Andreas, 2014. "Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 42-56.
    2. Creane, Anthony & Jeitschko, Thomas D., 2016. "Exporting to bypass weak institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 185-197.
    3. Panos Hatzipanayotou & Sajal Lahiri & Michael Michael, 2011. "Trade and domestic tax reforms in the presence of a public good and different neutrality conditions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(3), pages 273-290, June.
    4. Michael Michael & Panos Hatzipanayotou, 2013. "Pollution and reforms of domestic and trade taxes towards uniformity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(5), pages 753-768, October.
    5. Bognetti, Giuseppe & Santoni, Michele, 2016. "Increasing the substitution elasticity can improve VAT compliance and social welfare," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 293-307.
    6. Paz, Lourenco, 2012. "The impacts of trade liberalization on informal labor markets: an evaluation of the Brazilian case," MPRA Paper 38858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Paz, Lourenço S., 2014. "The impacts of trade liberalization on informal labor markets: A theoretical and empirical evaluation of the Brazilian case," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 330-348.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneous firms; Tariffs; VAT; Informal firms;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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