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Evaluating the Economic Effects of Flat Tax Reforms Using Synthetic Control Methods

Listed author(s):
  • Bibek Adhikari

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • James Alm

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Tax reforms are often motivated by their potential to improve economic performance. However, their actual impacts are difficult to quantify. We analyze the impact of flat tax reform on incomes using "synthetic control" methods. We identify the 8 Eastern and Central European countries that adopted flat tax systems between 1994 and 2005, and then compare post-reform GDP per capita of "treated" countries with a convex combination of similar but "untreated" countries, while accounting for the time-varying impact of unobservable heterogeneity. We find positive impacts in all 8 countries, with 7 out of 8 cases significant at the conventional level.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1615.pdf
File Function: First Version, December 2016
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Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1615.

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Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1615
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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
  2. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach & Joel Slemrod, 1997. "The Economic Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 589-632, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, March.
  6. 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.
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