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Tax challenges facing developing countries

  • Bird, Richard M.

    (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)

Taxes matter. We all know we need them to pay for public services. But most of us complain about them -- exercise our "voice" -- and often try to dodge them -- to "exit" -- when we can. Those who design and implement tax systems, like those who try to escape them, for the most part consider themselves to be eminently ‘practical’ people responding to the world around them as they see it. As John Maynard Keynes (1936, 384-85) once said, however, “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite free from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist…..soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.” While true to some extent, at least when it comes to taxes this dictum both unduly flatters economists and puts too little weight on interests and other factors. Tax policy everywhere is shaped not only by ideas and vested interests but also by changing economic conditions, administrative constraints and technological possibilities, and, especially, the political institutions within which these factors are at play.

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File URL: http://www.nipfp.org.in/working_paper/wp_2008_Richard.pdf
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Paper provided by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in its series Working Papers with number 08/als1.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:npf:wpaper:08/als1
Note: Annual Public Lecture Series of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.nipfp.org.in

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2004. "Taxation Base in Developing Countries," IDEI Working Papers 292, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421 Elsevier.
  3. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2003. "Fairness and Redistribution: U.S. versus Europe," NBER Working Papers 9502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Schneider, Friedrich & Klinglmair, Robert, 2004. "Shadow Economies around the World: What Do We Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 1043, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521622912 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
  7. Richard Bird & Eric Zolt, 2007. "Tax Policy in Emerging Countries," International Tax Program Papers 0707, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  8. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Cárdenas, 2006. "La Reforma de las Instituciones Fiscales en América Latina," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7647, Inter-American Development Bank.
  9. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Vanishing Bequest Tax: The Comparative Evolution of Bequest Taxation in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 6115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Richard M. Bird, 2005. "Evaluating Public Expenditures: Does It Matter How They are Financed?," International Tax Program Papers 0506, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  11. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Attacks!," IMF Working Papers 07/142, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," International Tax Program Papers 0411, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  13. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack (ed.), 2004. "International Handbook of Land and Property Taxation," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3304.
  14. Jack A. Goldstone, 2007. "Jack Goldstone on Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(3), pages 207-225, July.
  15. Peter H. Lindert, 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," NBER Working Papers 9749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2001. "Mexico: An Evaluation of the Main Features of the Tax System," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0112, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  17. Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Taxation Policy in Low-Income Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  18. Morisset, Jacques & Izquierdo, Alejandro, 1993. "Effects of tax reform on Argentina's revenues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1192, The World Bank.
  19. Warlters, Michael & Auriol, Emmanuelle, 2005. "The marginal cost of public funds in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3679, The World Bank.
  20. Toye, John, 2000. "Fiscal Crisis and Fiscal Reform in Developing Countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 21-44, January.
  21. Richard M. Bird, 2003. "Administrative Dimensions of Tax Reform," International Tax Program Papers 0302, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised May 2003.
  22. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
  23. Cnossen, Sijbren (ed.), 2005. "Theory and Practice of Excise Taxation: Smoking, Drinking, Gambling, Polluting, and Driving," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199278596, March.
  24. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  25. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
  26. Richard M. Bird, 2006. "Taxing Land and Property in Emerging Economies: Raising Revenue...and More?," International Tax Program Papers 0605, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  27. Peter Lindert, 2004. "Social Spending and Economic Growth," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(4), pages 6-16, July.
  28. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521877657 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Shah, Anwar & Whalley, John, 1991. "Tax Incidence Analysis of Developing Countries: An Alternative View," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(3), pages 535-52, September.
  30. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521021807 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Is It Really so Hard to Tax the Hard-to-Tax? The Context and Role of Presumptive Taxes," International Tax Program Papers 0307, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
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