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Tax challenges facing developing countries

  • Bird, Richard M.

    (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)

Most developing countries continue to face serious problems in developing adequate and responsive tax systems. This paper reviews the three principal ways in which developing countries may expand and improve their taxation systems - base-broadening, rate reduction, and administrative improvement - in the context of the political economy of tax reform. While each of these paths to reform is essential, in the end what 50 years of experience tells us is that improving the transparency and understanding with which fiscal issues are discussed by all relevant players, both within and outside government, is the really essential ingredient to developing viable and sustainable tax systems in developing countries. Such institution-building activities are not a boring bit of infrastructure to be brushed aside in order to get into the real business of making this or that substantive reform in tax policy or administration: they are the "real business" with which serious tax reformers in any country should be most concerned.[IIB WP]

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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

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2004. "Taxation Base in Developing Countries," IDEI Working Papers 292, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2011. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107401440, November.
  5. Peter Lindert, 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," Working Papers 26, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Cardenas, 2006. "La reforma de las instituciones fiscales en América Latina," Research Department Publications 4458, .
  7. 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.
  8. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," CEMA Working Papers 582, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Attacks!," IMF Working Papers 07/142, International Monetary Fund.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Taxation Policy in Low-Income Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  14. 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.
  15. Warlters, Michael & Auriol, Emmanuelle, 2005. "The marginal cost of public funds in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3679, The World Bank.
  16. 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.
  17. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fairness and Redistribution: US versus Europe," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1983, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Cnossen, Sijbren (ed.), 2005. "Theory and Practice of Excise Taxation: Smoking, Drinking, Gambling, Polluting, and Driving," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199278596, May.
  19. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Peter Lindert, 2004. "Social Spending and Economic Growth," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(4), pages 6-16, July.
  22. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 1999. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521622912, November.
  23. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack (ed.), 2004. "International Handbook of Land and Property Taxation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3304, May.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  27. 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.
  28. Richard M. Bird, 2014. "Administrative Dimensions of Tax Reform," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 963-992, November.
  29. Richard M Bird & Eric M Zolt, 2008. "Tax policy in emerging countries," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 26(1), pages 73-86, February.
  30. Morisset, Jacques & Izquierdo, Alejandro, 1993. "Effects of tax reform on Argentina's revenues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1192, The World Bank.
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