IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Political Economics of Tax Reforms: survey and empirical assessment

  • Micael Castanheira

    (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)

  • Gaëtan Nicodème

    (European Commission, CESifo, CEPR and Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)

  • Paola Profeta

    (Università Bocconi, Econpubblica and Dondena, Italy, CESifo)

Political constraints and incentives are the true driver of tax reforms. This paper reviews the political economics literature on personal income tax systems and reforms to see how political mechanisms help explain tax reforms. We take some of the implications of these theories to the data using LABREF, a database that identifies labor tax reforms in the European Union for the period 2000-2007, and control for economic and labor market factors. We find that political variables carry more weight than economic variables, and we show empirical regularities that support political economy theories. We also find that governments tended to reform more in better economic times, engaging in pro-cyclical behavior.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://crem.univ-rennes1.fr/wp/2012/2012-08-ccr.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Condorcet Center for political Economy in its series Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS with number 2012-08-ccr.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2012-08-ccr
Contact details of provider: Postal:
CREM (UMR CNRS 6211) – Faculty of Economics, 7 place Hoche, 35065 RENNES Cedex

Phone: 02 23 23 35 63
Fax: (33) 2 23 23 35 99
Web page: http://www.condorcet-center.fr
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: CREM (UMR CNRS 6211) - Faculty of Economics, 7 place Hoche, 35065 Rennes Cedex - France
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2009. "Political Economy of Ramsey Taxation," NBER Working Papers 15302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel Horgos & Klaus Zimmermann, 2009. "Interest groups and economic performance: some new evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 301-315, March.
  4. Stigler, George J, 1970. "Director's Law of Public Income Redistribution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-10, April.
  5. Ruud A. de Mooij & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2007. "Corporate tax policy and incorporation in the EU," Working Papers CEB 07-016.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Lars P. Feld & Justina A.V. Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2006. "The Effect of Direct Democracy on Income Redistribution:Evidence for Switzerland," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 23, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. JuanD. Carrillo & Micael Castanheira, 2008. "Information and Strategic Political Polarisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 845-874, 07.
  8. Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When does it take a Nixon to go to China?," Discussion Paper 1997-91, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2008. "Identifying strategic interactions in Swedish local income tax policies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 849-857, May.
  10. Dewatripont, Mathias & Roland, Gérard, 1993. "The Design of Reform Packages Under Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. J. A. Mirrlees, 1972. "On Producer Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 105-111.
  12. Micael Castanheira, . "Why Vote for Losers?," Working Papers 125, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  13. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
  14. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Cesar Martinelli & Mariano Tommasi, 1993. "Sequencing of Economic Reforms in the Presence of Political Constraints," UCLA Economics Working Papers 701, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
  17. Bassett, William F. & Burkett, John P. & Putterman, Louis, 1999. "Income distribution, government transfers, and the problem of unequal influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 207-228, June.
  18. Gérard Roland, 2000. "Transition and Economics: Politics, Markets, and Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182033, March.
  19. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
  20. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Daron Acemoglu & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2010. "Dynamic Mirrlees Taxation under Political Economy Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 841-881.
  22. Micael Castanheira & Christian Valenduc, 2006. "Économie politique de la taxation," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 19-37.
  23. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
  24. Schultz, Christian, 2008. "Information, polarization and term length in democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1078-1091, June.
  25. Jean Hindriks & Gareth D. Myles, 2006. "Intermediate Public Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262083442, March.
  26. Gouveia, Miguel & Masia, Neal A, 1998. "Does the Median Voter Model Explain the Size of Government?: Evidence from the States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 159-77, October.
  27. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2012. "On the political economics of tax reforms: survey and empirical assessment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 598-624, August.
  28. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2002. "Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 87-99, 07.
  30. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  31. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, Junio.
  32. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  33. Anke Kessler, 2000. "Representative versus Direct Democracy: The Role of Informational Asymmetries," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse18_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
  34. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan J.A. Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2011. "On the Political Economics of Tax Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3538, CESifo Group Munich.
  35. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
  36. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2003. "In search of yardstick competition: a spatial analysis of Italian municipality property tax setting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 199-217, September.
  37. Alberto Alesina & Allan Drazen, 1989. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed?," NBER Working Papers 3053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
  39. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
  40. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2002. "The political economy of social security: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, March.
  41. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807, Junio.
  42. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  43. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2005. "A Drawback Of Electoral Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1318-1348, December.
  44. Graziella Bertocchi, 2008. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," Discussion Papers 4_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  45. B.S.Y. Crutzen & Micael Castanheira De Moura & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party organization and electoral competition," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/136805, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  46. Norman Schofield, 1983. "Generic Instability of Majority Rule," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 695-705.
  47. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  48. Rainald Borck, 2007. "Voting, Inequality And Redistribution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 90-109, 02.
  49. George Warskett & Stanley Winer & Walter Hettich, 1998. "The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(2), pages 123-151, May.
  50. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
  51. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  52. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  53. Crutzen, Benoît SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2006. "Redistributive Politics with Distortionary Taxation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  54. Luigi, Bernardi, 2002. "Tax systems and tax reforms in Europe: Italy," MPRA Paper 18045, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  55. Davis, Otto A & DeGroot, Morris H & Hinich, Melvin J, 1972. "Social Preference Orderings and Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(1), pages 147-57, January.
  56. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
  57. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2010. "The Conscription of Wealth: Mass Warfare and the Demand for Progressive Taxation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 529-561, October.
  58. Revelli, Federico, 2002. "Local taxes, national politics and spatial interactions in English district election results," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 281-299, June.
  59. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
  60. Milanovic, Branko, 2000. "The median-voter hypothesis, income inequality, and income redistribution: an empirical test with the required data," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 367-410, September.
  61. J. Scott Long & Jeremy Freese, 2006. "Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using Stata, 2nd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 2, number long2, September.
  62. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1992. "The virtues of gradualism and legitimacy in the transition to a market economy," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9587, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  63. M. Dewatripont & G. Roland, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 703-730.
  64. Paola Profeta, 2007. "Political support and tax reforms with an application to Italy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 141-155, April.
  65. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1998. "Towards micropolitical foundations of public finance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 685-694, May.
  66. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
  67. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  68. Thomas Piketty, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 169-191.
  69. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies," Introductory Chapters, in: The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies Princeton University Press.
  70. Allan Meltzer & Scott Richard, 1983. "Tests of a rational theory of the size of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 403-418, January.
  71. Ray C. Fair, 1971. "The Optimal Distribution of Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 551-579.
  72. Micael Castanheira De Moura & Tito Boeri & Ricardo Faini & Vincenzo Galasso, 2006. "Structural reforms without prejudice," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10017, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  73. Nigar Hashimzade & Jean Hindriks & Gareth D. Myles, 2006. "Solutions Manual to Accompany Intermediate Public Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582694, March.
  74. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
  75. Feld, Lars P. & Matsusaka, John G., 2003. "Budget referendums and government spending: evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2703-2724, December.
  76. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2012-08-ccr. 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: (CODA-POIREY Hélène)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.