IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tul/wpaper/1524.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

When Does Introducing a Value-Added Tax Increase Economic Efficiency? Evidence from the Synthetic Control Method

Author

Listed:
  • Bibek Adhikari

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Abstract

The theoretical prediction that a value-added tax (VAT) does not distort firms' production decisions has led to its rapid adoption worldwide, but there is surprisingly little empirical evidence. This paper provides one of the first causal estimates of the efficiency gains (i.e., an increase in GDP per worker) of introducing a VAT in a worldwide sample of countries using the synthetic control method. The synthetic control is a weighted average of countries without a VAT that closely resembles the economic structure and outcomes of the country with a VAT for several years before the adoption of a VAT. In line with previous studies, I find that the VAT has, on average, a positive and economically meaningful impact on economic efficiency. However, this result is driven by richer countries only. There is no significant impact of the VAT on poorer countries. I find similar results when estimating the impact of the VAT on total factor productivity and capital stock per worker, two important channels through which a VAT affects GDP per worker. This paper provides evidence that a success of VAT almost entirely depends on the initial level of income of a country, which, in turn, determines whether a country is able to properly design and enforce a VAT. The findings are robust across a series of placebo studies and sensitivity checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Bibek Adhikari, 2015. "When Does Introducing a Value-Added Tax Increase Economic Efficiency? Evidence from the Synthetic Control Method," Working Papers 1524, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1524
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1524r.pdf
    File Function: First Version, November 2015
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Carrillo & Dina Pomeranz & Monica Singhal, 2017. "Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 144-164, April.
    2. James Alm & Abel Embaye, 2013. "Using Dynamic Panel Methods to Estimate Shadow Economies Around the World, 1984-2006," Working Papers 1303, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    3. A. Lans Bovenberg, 1987. "Indirect Taxation in Developing Countries: A General Equilibrium Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(2), pages 333-373, June.
    4. Gregory DeAngelo & Benjamin Hansen, 2014. "Life and Death in the Fast Lane: Police Enforcement and Traffic Fatalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 231-257, May.
    5. James,Kathryn, 2015. "The Rise of the Value-Added Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107044128.
    6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "The growth effect of democracy: Is it heterogenous and how can it be estimated?," Working Papers 322, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    7. Cizek, P. & Lei, J. & Ligthart, J.E., 2012. "The Determinants of VAT Introduction : A Spatial Duration Analysis," Discussion Paper 2012-071, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Ferede, Ergete & Dahlby, Bev, 2012. "The Impact of Tax Cuts on Economic Growth: Evidence From the Canadian Provinces," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(3), pages 563-594, September.
    9. repec:wly:soecon:v:83:2:y:2016:p:437-463 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    11. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth: Theory and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1008-1038, October.
    12. Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2011. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107401440, December.
    13. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
    14. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2015. "Comparative Politics and the Synthetic Control Method," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 59(2), pages 495-510, February.
    15. Chadi S. Abdallah & William D. Lastrapes, 2012. "Home Equity Lending and Retail Spending: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Texas," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 94-125, October.
    16. Levchenko, Andrei A. & Rancière, Romain & Thoenig, Mathias, 2009. "Growth and risk at the industry level: The real effects of financial liberalization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 210-222, July.
    17. Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1984. "Applied General-Equilibrium Models of Taxation and International Trade: An Introduction and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1007-1051, September.
    18. Bovenberg, A.L., 1987. "Indirect taxation in developing countries : A general equilibrium approach," Other publications TiSEM adac046e-0845-4c4e-904a-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    19. Alex Ufier, 2014. "Quasi-Experimental Analysis On The Effects Of Adoption Of A Value Added Tax," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1364-1379, October.
    20. Smith, Brock, 2015. "The resource curse exorcised: Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 57-73.
    21. Bauhoff, Sebastian, 2014. "The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 45-55.
    22. Keen, Michael & Smith, Stephen, 2006. "VAT Fraud and Evasion: What Do We Know and What Can Be Done?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(4), pages 861-887, December.
    23. James R. Hines, 2004. "Might Fundamental Tax Reform Increase Criminal Activity?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(283), pages 483-492, August.
    24. Andre Francisco J. & Romero López Carlos & Cardenete M. Alejandro, 2010. "Designing Public Policies: An Approach based on Multi-Criteria Analysis and Computable General Equilibrium Modeling," Books, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, edition 0, number 2011102, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. India just took a big step towards transforming into ‘a single common market’
      by cpfeiffer@businessinsider.com (Chloe Pfeiffer) in Business Insider on 2016-08-05 00:58:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Mellace & Alessandra Pasquini, 2019. "Identify More, Observe Less: Mediation Analysis Synthetic Control," CEIS Research Paper 474, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Nov 2019.
    2. Mellace, Giovanni & Pasquini, Alessandra, 2019. "Identify More, Observe Less: Mediation Analysis: Mediation Analysis Synthetic Control," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 12/2019, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bibek Adhikari & James Alm, 2016. "Evaluating the Economic Effects of Flat Tax Reforms Using Synthetic Control Methods," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(2), pages 437-463, October.
    2. Bruno Ferman & Cristine Pinto & Vitor Possebom, 2020. "Cherry Picking with Synthetic Controls," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 39(2), pages 510-532, March.
    3. Bibek Adhikari & Romain Duval & Bingjie Hu & Prakash Loungani, 2018. "Can Reform Waves Turn the Tide? Some Case Studies using the Synthetic Control Method," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 879-910, September.
    4. Maïmouna Diakite & Jean-François Brun & Souleymane Diarra & Nasser Ary Tanimoune, 2017. "The effects of tax coordination on the tax revenue mobilization in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)," Working Papers halshs-01535104, HAL.
    5. Asatryan, Zareh & Gomtsyan, David, 2020. "The incidence of VAT evasion," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    6. 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.
    7. Björn Falkenhall & Jonas Månsson & Sofia Tano, 2020. "Impact of VAT Reform on Swedish Restaurants: A Synthetic Control Group Approach," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(2), pages 824-850, April.
    8. Céline DE QUATREBARBES & Luc SAVARD & Dorothée BOCCANFUSO, 2011. "Can the removal of VAT Exemptions support the Poor? The Case of Niger," Working Papers 201106, CERDI.
    9. Roesel, Felix, 2017. "Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? – Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 22-36.
    10. Jon Bakija & Ivan Badinski, 2014. "Evidence on the Responsiveness of Export-Related VAT Evasion to VAT Rates in the EU," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    11. Shah, Anwar & Whalley, John, 1990. "An alternative view of tax incidence analysis for developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 462, The World Bank.
    12. Giulio Grossi & Patrizia Lattarulo & Marco Mariani & Alessandra Mattei & Ozge Oner, 2020. "Synthetic Control Group Methods in the Presence of Interference: The Direct and Spillover Effects of Light Rail on Neighborhood Retail Activity," Papers 2004.05027, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2021.
    13. Marchesi, Silvia & Masi, Tania, 2021. "Life after default. Private and official deals," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    14. Mazhar Waseem, 2020. "Overclaimed Refunds, Undeclared Sales, and Invoice Mills: Nature and Extent of Noncompliance in a Value-Added Tax," CESifo Working Paper Series 8231, CESifo.
    15. Mazhar Waseem, 2019. "Overclaimed Refunds, Undeclared Sales, and Invoice Mills: Nature and Extent of Noncompliance in a Value-Added Tax," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1913, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    16. Joana Naritomi, 2019. "Consumers as Tax Auditors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(9), pages 3031-3072, September.
    17. Jianjun Li & Xuan Wang, 2020. "Does VAT have higher tax compliance than a turnover tax? Evidence from China," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(2), pages 280-311, April.
    18. Miguel Almunia & David Lopez-Rodriguez, 2018. "Under the Radar: The Effects of Monitoring Firms on Tax Compliance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, February.
    19. 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.
    20. Becker, Maike & Pfeifer, Gregor & Schweikert, Karsten, 2021. "Price Effects of the Austrian Fuel Price Fixing Act: A Synthetic Control Study," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    value-added tax; economic efficiency; synthetic control method;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1524. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/detulus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Valentina Martinez Pabon (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/detulus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.