The peculiar distributional character of the Greek taxation system (1995‐2008) and the reform that never took place
The period 1995‐2008 is a period of fundamental transformation for the Greek economy. The dominance of services in the GDP and the decline of manufacturing and agriculture, the expansion of wage earners and the decline of self‐employment, the strengthening of large companies versus the smaller ones, the massive influx of immigrants and women in the labour market, the economic expansion to the Balkans and Turkey, the liberalization of the financial system, the euro, are all aspects of a transformation that occurred during that period. So, at a first glance it seems to be a paradox that the structure of the taxation system and its results only changed marginally. The explanation of this paradox lies in the peculiar distributive (as opposed to redistributive)character of the taxation system. Namely, the fact that the government interventions during the period 1995‐2008 resulted in the distribution of the surplus generated from the robust growth to business elites and specific social groups, instead of using this surplus to fund a reform of the taxation system aiming at a fairer distribution of the tax burden. Unfortunately, the combination of the tax agenda of the conservative party in government (Nea Dimocratia) along with a populist rhetoric of the opposition did not allow the promotion of the so needed tax reform.
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