IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Some Principles of Taxation for Latin America: Lessons from the USA and European Experiences


  • Robert W. McGee

    (Seton Hall University)


The countries of the world have public finance systems that can generally be broken down into three categories. Advanced western democracies (and Japan) have long-established, often complex systems. Emerging economies such as those in Eastern Europe and China are in the process of moving from central planning to a market system, and are building their tax systems more or less from scratch, often basing them on western models. Other economies, such as some of the democracies in Latin America, have tax systems that are somewhere between the other two models. They may be long-established, and they may be based on the public finance system of the economically advanced economies, but they do not function in the same way as advanced systems. Collection is a problem, as is gathering the data necessary to determine tax liability. This paper outlines the major taxes and tax philosophies that advanced western economies have accepted and implemented and urges Latin American countries that are trying to make their public finance systems more "western" not to adopt western systems blindly, but to first take a close look at how western systems have worked. With careful analysis, Latin American countries can select the best parts of western public finance while avoiding the worst parts.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. McGee, 1998. "Some Principles of Taxation for Latin America: Lessons from the USA and European Experiences," Public Economics 9805003, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:9805003
    Note: Type of Document - Word 6.0 (Mac); prepared on Macintosh; to print on LaserWriter 4/600PS; pages: 15 . This paper was presented at the 14th Conference of the Business Association of Latin American Studies, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April, 1997

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murray N. Rothbard, 1981. "The Myth of Neutral Taxation," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 1(2), pages 519-564, Fall.
    2. James M. Buchanan, 1963. "The Economics of Earmarked Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 457-457.
    3. Cullis, J G & Jones, P R & Morrissey, O, 1991. "Public Choice Perspectives on the Poll Tax," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 600-614, May.
    4. Alan Reynolds, 1985. "Some International Comparisons of Supply-Side Tax Policy," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 5(2), pages 543-569, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    tax taxation public finance latin america;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:wpa:wuwppe:9805003. 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: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.