IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

How is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?

  • Carlos A. Vegh
  • Guillermo Vuletin

It is well known by now that government spending has typically been procyclical in developing economies but acyclical or countercyclical in industrial countries. Little, if any, is known, however, about the cyclical behavior of tax rates (as opposed to tax revenues, which are endogenous to the business cycle and hence cannot shed light on the cyclicality of tax policy). We build a novel dataset on tax rates for 62 countries for the period 1960-2013 that comprises corporate income, personal income, and value-added tax rates. We find that, by and large, tax policy is acyclical in industrial countries but mostly procyclical in developing countries. Further, tax policy in countries with better institutions and/or more integrated with world capital markets tends to be less procyclical/more countercyclical.

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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17753.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2015. "How Is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 327-70, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17753
Note: IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
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. Chinn,M.D. & Ito,H., 2005. "What matters for financial development? : capital controls, institutions, and interactions," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. European Commission, 2011. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2011 edition," Taxation trends 2011, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  3. Robert Barro, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects from Government Purchases and Taxes," Annual Meeting Plenary 2011-1, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Gabriel Cuadra & Horacio Sapriza, 2007. "Fiscal Policy and Default Risk in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 2007-03, Banco de México.
  5. Poterba, J.M. & Rotemberg, J.J., 1989. "Inflation And Taxation With Optimizing Governments," Working papers 521, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Strawczynski, Michel, 2013. "Cyclicality of statutory tax rates," MPRA Paper 48821, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  8. Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Explaining fiscal policies and inflation in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1, Supple), pages S16-S48, March.
  9. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Carlos A. Végh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2011. "On Graduation from Fiscal Procyclicality," NBER Working Papers 17619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2007. "The external wealth of nations mark II: Revised and extended estimates of foreign assets and liabilities, 1970-2004," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 223-250, November.
  11. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Tax multipliers: Pitfalls in measurement and identification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 30-48.
  13. Ugo Panizza & Dany Jaimovich, 2007. "Procyclicality or Reverse Causality?," Research Department Publications 4508, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Huang, Chao-Hsi & Lin, Kenneth S., 1993. "Deficits, government expenditures, and tax smoothing in the United States: 1929-1988," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 317-339, June.
  16. Nolivos, Roberto Delhy & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2014. "The role of central bank independence on optimal taxation and seigniorage," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 440-458.
  17. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carlos A. Vegh, 2008. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: Truth or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 14191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bauducco, Sofia & Caprioli, Francesco, 2014. "Optimal fiscal policy in a small open economy with limited commitment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 302-315.
  19. European Commission, 2011. "Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2011: tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability," Taxation Papers 28, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17753. 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: ()

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.