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How is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?

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  • Carlos A. Vegh
  • Guillermo Vuletin

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2012. "How is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 17753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17753
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2013. "On graduation from fiscal procyclicality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 32-47.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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