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Optimal capital and labor income taxation in small and developing countries

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  • Avdiu, Besart

Abstract

This paper argues that smaller and poorer countries have lower optimal tax rates on capital and labor income than their larger and richer counterparts. It further provides an alternative explanation for such empirically observed differences in tax rates. The model focuses on a closed economy, but is extended by introducing mobile capital. The difference in tax rates here is efficient and not due to tax competition. For the result, less than perfect competition is necessary. The intuition is that monopolistic markups distort markets in a similar way as taxes. Hence, optimal tax rates are inversely related to markups and I show theoretically that smaller and poorer countries have larger markups. Therefore, these countries have lower optimal tax rates. Since smaller and poorer countries face larger competition distortions, there is less space for tax distortions. Hence, a smaller tax rate itself is insufficient to conclude a country is engaging in tax competition. Empirical analysis of the banking industry also shows that smaller and poorer countries have larger markups.

Suggested Citation

  • Avdiu, Besart, 2018. "Optimal capital and labor income taxation in small and developing countries," MPRA Paper 84884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:84884
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    1. Eren Gürer, 2022. "Rising markups and optimal redistributive taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(5), pages 1227-1259, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Taxation; Monopolistic Competition; Developing Countries; International Fiscal Issues; Tax Competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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