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Tax Revenue and (or?) Trade Liberalization

  • Michael Keen
  • Thomas Baunsgaard

With the public finances of many developing and emerging market countries still heavily dependent on trade tax revenues, further trade liberalization may be hindered unless they are able to develop alternative sources of revenue. While there is now a well-established body of theory and policy advice on how this might be done in principle, this paper uses panel data for 111 countries over 25 years- cleaned for a variety of problems in standard data sources-to ask what has happened in practice: Have countries in fact recovered from other sources the revenues they have lost from past episodes of trade liberalization? High-income countries clearly have. For middle-income countries, recovery has been in the order of 45-60 cents for each dollar of lost trade tax revenue, with signs of close to full recovery when separately identifying episodes in which trade tax revenues fell. Troublingly, however, revenue recovery has been extremely weak in low-income countries (which are those most dependent on trade tax revenues): they have recovered, at best, no more than about 30 cents of each lost dollar. Nor is there much evidence that the presence of a value-added tax has in itself made it easier to cope with the revenue effects of trade liberalization.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/112.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/112
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  1. Naito, Takumi, 2006. "Tariff and tax reform: Dynamic implications," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 504-517, March.
  2. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2009. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, February.
  3. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
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  6. Hatzipanayotou, Panos & Michael, Michael S. & Miller, Stephen M., 1994. "Win-win indirect tax reform : A modest proposal," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 147-151.
  7. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
  8. Terence D. Agbeyegbe & Janet Gale Stotsky & Asegedech WoldeMariam, 2004. "Trade Liberalization, Exchange Rate Changes, and Tax Revenue in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 04/178, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Javed Younas & Subhayu Bandyopadhyay, 2007. "Do donors care about declining trade revenues from liberalization? an analysis of aid allocation," Working Papers 2007-028, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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  12. Keen, M. & Ligthart, J.E., 2005. "Coordinating tariff reduction and domestic tax reform under imperfect competition," Other publications TiSEM db2f2573-0206-4b08-b9ae-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. Khattry, Barsha & Mohan Rao, J., 2002. "Fiscal Faux Pas?: An Analysis of the Revenue Implications of Trade Liberalization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1431-1444, August.
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  17. repec:ind:nipfwp:07 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT, Tariffs, and Withholding: Border Taxes and Informality in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 07/174, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Haque, M. Emranul & Mukherjee, Arijit, 2005. "On the revenue implications of trade liberalization under imperfect competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 27-31, July.
  20. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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