Taxes, Efficiency, and Redistribution: Discriminatory Taxation of Villages in Ottoman Palestine, Southern Syria and Transjordan in the Sixteenth Century
Governments can tax productive activities with either uniform or discriminatory rates among taxpayers. Although discriminatory rates can cause productive inefficiency and require high cost of administration, they can be preferred because of their advantage in distributional flexibility. This paper studies the discriminatory taxation of production in the Fertile Crescent. Using information from the Ottoman tax registers, it examines the basis, distortionary effects, and distributional consequences of discriminatory rates quantitatively. The results challenge widely held beliefs about the basis for discriminatory rates in this region and the Ottoman government's motivation in adapting systems of taxation in newly conquered lands.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2002|
|Date of revision:||Jul 2004|
|Publication status:||Forthcoming in Explorations in Economic History.|
|Note:||I thank Dhammika Dharmapala, David Feeny, an anonymous reviewer, and participants at the Economic History and Development Workshop at UMass, Amherst; the 2002 Annual Cliometrics Conference in La Crosse, WI; the 2002 Economic History Association Meetings in St. Louis, MO, and the 2002 Middle East Studies Association Meetings in Washington, DC for helpful comments and suggestions. Ali Ozdemir, Hesna Taskomur, and Sadik Yildirim provided valuable research assistance.|
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- Holcombe, R.G., 1998.
"Tax Policy from Public Choice Perspective,"
1998_03_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
- Joel Slemrod, 1989.
"Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems,"
NBER Working Papers
3038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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