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Is the Value Added Tax Naturally Progressive?

Author

Listed:
  • Glenn P. Jenkins

    () (Department of Economics, Queen's University)

  • Hatice Jenkins

    () (Department of Banking and Finance, Eastern Mediterranean University)

  • Chun-Yan Kuo

    () (John Deutsch Institute, Department of Economics, Queen's University)

Abstract

A broad based consumption tax, such as a value added tax, is generally considered to be a regressive tax. This conclusion, however, has not taken into account the fact that in developing countries the commodities on which poor households spend most of their income, even if they are included in the legal tax base, are administratively impractical to tax. This paper employs a rich data set on household incomes and expenditures for the Dominican Republic. The data set covers 2042 goods and services purchased by households of different income and consumption levels. It also contains information on the type of establishment from which the items were purchased. With this information, we estimate the effective rate of tax that has been paid on each item purchased by households. These estimations include the effect of the different rates of the tax compliance across households with different expenditure levels. The results of the study show that the burden of the current VAT in the Dominican Republic is progressive over all the quintiles of household expenditure. Furthermore, if the base of the VAT is made comprehensive, the estimated incidence of the burden of the VAT is still progressive over all the quintiles of household expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn P. Jenkins & Hatice Jenkins & Chun-Yan Kuo, 2006. "Is the Value Added Tax Naturally Progressive?," Working Papers 1059, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1059
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1059.pdf
    File Function: First version 2006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1994. "Lifecycle vs. Annual Perspectives on the Incidence of A Value Added Tax," NBER Working Papers 4619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1995. "Value-Added Taxation: A Tax Whose Time Has Come?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    3. Richard A. Musgrave & Karl E. Case & Herman Leonard, 1974. "The Distribution of Fiscal Burdens and Benefits," Public Finance Review, , vol. 2(3), pages 259-311, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2010. "The value added tax: Its causes and consequences," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 138-151, July.
    2. de Quatrebarbes, Céline & Boccanfuso, Dorothée & Savard, Luc, 2016. "Beyond representative households: The macro–micro impact analysis of VAT designs applied to Niger," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 76-92.
    3. Christian E. Weller & Manita Rao, 2008. "Can Progressive Taxation Contribute to Economic Development?," Working Papers wp176, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    4. Michael Keen, 2009. "What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 159-170, March.
    5. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Céline de Quatrebarbes & Luc Savard, 2011. "Can the removal of VAT Exemptions support the Poor? The Case of Niger," Cahiers de recherche 11-04, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke, revised 05 Dec 2015.
    6. Rodrigo Cubero & Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, 2010. "Equity and Fiscal Policy; The Income Distribution Effects of Taxation and Social Spending in Central America," IMF Working Papers 10/112, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Arsić, Milojko & Altiparmakov, Nikola, 2013. "Equity aspects of VAT in emerging European countries: A case study of Serbia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 171-186.
    8. Richard M. Bird, 2014. "Foreign advice and tax policy in developing countries," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 4, pages 103-144 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Michael Keen, 2012. "Taxation and Development; Again," IMF Working Papers 12/220, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Céline de Quatrebarbes & Savard Luc & Boccanfuso Dorothée, 2011. "Can the suppression of VAT exemption support the poor? The case of Niger," EcoMod2011 3227, EcoMod.
    11. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:59:y:2014:i:02:n:s021759081450009x is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Mattéo Godin & Romain Houssa & Kelbesa Megersa, 2017. "The Performance of VAT in DGD-partner countries," BeFinD Working Papers 0116, University of Namur, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value Added Tax; incidence; compliance;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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