nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒08‒19
six papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. Reaching a Political Consensus for Tax Reform in Spain: The Moncloa Pacts, Joining the European Union and the Rest of the Journey By Fransisco Comín
  2. The Reform of the Tax Administration in Spain By Jorge Onrubia
  3. Equity in Latin America Since the 1990s By Pedro Sáinz
  4. The Business Community, Policy Makers, and Tax Reform in Spain (1977 - 2004) By Emilio Albi
  5. 15 años de la constitución By FEDESARROLLO
  6. Privatization: A Summary Assessment By John Nellis

  1. By: Fransisco Comín (University of Alcalá, Madrid)
    Abstract: After the death of Francisco Franco in November 1975, the political transition was adversely affected by the concurrence of a deep economic crisis and intense social conflict. The hesitant economic policies of the last Francois and the first transitional governments - up to the 1977 elections - made the economic depression even worse. Therefore, economic imbalances were more serious in Spain than in most other European countries. There were higher levels of inflation, unemployment, balance of payments deficit, public sector deficit and a larger drop in profits and investment. Two fundamental challenges facing Spain , in the midst of such a serious situation, had to be resolved together. The political challenge called for the transition to be guided towards democracy via peaceful means, while the economic challenge required the economic depression to be lessened and the economic institutions modernized. Both problems required an incomes policy orchestrated by means of a political pact that would permit a constituent process to set up democracy, at the same time several reforms would modernize dysfunctional economic institutions. The consensus amongst various political parties made the Moncloa Pacts, signed in 1977, and the Constitution, approved the following year, possible. That exceptional situation led to political and economic agreements unknown in Spain before and after that date. This chapter focuses on the economic pacts that allowed the beginning of tax reform in a democratic setting.
    Keywords: Spain, Tax Reform in Spain, The Moncloa Pacts, European Union
    Date: 2006–06–01
  2. By: Jorge Onrubia (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
    Abstract: This chapter deals with the evolution of tax administration in Spain from the initial stages of the democratic process, way back in the second half of the seventies, up to the present time. Given the relevance of the classical interrelation between the tax reform processes and tax administration reforms, we review the main events and milestones in the last three decades. We analyze the influence that institutional, economic, and political factors have had on both the architecture of the tax administration and its organizational behavior. Nevertheless, based on what we have just said, the performance of the Spanish tax administration cannot be satisfactorily assessed without explicit reference to the deep decentralization experienced by the Spanish tax system from the early eighties, and especially since 1994. That is why a considerable part of the chapter is devoted to analyze the role played by the successive reforms of the Autonomous Communities' financing system, and the decisions of the regional governments themselves, in shaping Spain 's tax administration.
    Keywords: Spainish Tax Administration, tax reform, tax reform processes, tax administration reforms
    Date: 2006–01–01
  3. By: Pedro Sáinz
    Abstract: This paper deals with the social welfare consequences of the stagnation of Latin American growth per capita during the far-reaching economic and social changes that took place during the period 1980-2003. This period of transformation saw large-scale foreign actors gradually increase their economic and political power in Latin America, with negative consequences for domestic economies, especially in terms of increasing income inequality and rising poverty. The only major tendency mitigating these adverse trends was an increase in public expenditure in the social sector during the 1990s, which offset, but did not eliminate, the increased inequality associated with the economic transformation.
    Keywords: Latin America, economic change, poverty, income distribution, social policy, health,education
    JEL: O11 O17 O40 O54 I28 I32
    Date: 2006–06
  4. By: Emilio Albi (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
    Abstract: Over twenty-five years have passed since the original predecessors of today's Personal and Corporate Income Taxes came into force on January 1, 1979 and since the Urgent Measures on Tax Reform were published on November 14, 1977. The latter signaled the start of a major reform process aimed at modernizing Spanish public finance, which continues today. With the perspective of time, this long fiscal reform process contains elements of considerable interest for the analysis of taxation. Personally, so many years of tax reform in Spain places one in an ambivalent position. On the one hand, it is stimulating to study, with the objectives I will soon establish, such an important issue as a country's tax reforms over such a lengthy period. On the other hand, and this is slightly less pleasant, one of the possible comparative advantages I have when considering these matters is age; having been an active witness of the preparation and onset of the 1977-78 tax reform and the large number of changes made since then.
    Keywords: Tax Reform in Spain, Corporate income tax, Spanish public finance, fiscal reform
    Abstract: Por estos días se celebran los 15 años de la expedición de la Constitución Política vigente en Colombia, que sustituyó la de 1886, la cual, a pesar de varias reformas importantes, había regido el funcionamiento de los poderes públicos en el país durante 105 años. Este aniversario da pie para que la presente de ECONOMÍA Y POLÍTICA, sea una reflexión sobre si la forma en que ha evolucionado el país ha coincidido o no con las aspiraciones e ideales de quienes expidieron hace 15 años la Carta Política de los colombianos
    Date: 2006–07–27
  6. By: John Nellis
    Abstract: In the last 25 years many thousands of formerly state-owned and operated firms have been privatized in developing and transition countries, generating over $400 billion (US) in sales proceeds. In addition, thousands of firms have been transferred by privatization processes in which no money was raised (though a surprising number of state-owned firms remain in these regions). The vast majority of economic studies praise privatization’s positive impact at the level of the firm, as well as its positive macroeconomic and welfare contributions. Moreover, contrary to popular conception, privatization has not contributed to maldistribution of income or increased poverty——at least in the best-studied Latin American cases. In sum, the technical picture is generally positive. Nonetheless, public opinion in the less developed world is generally suspicious of, and often hostile to, privatization. A good part of the problem is that privatization has proven harder to launch, and is more likely to produce errant results, in low-income, institutionally weak states, particularly in the most important infrastructure sectors. Privatization is hard to sell politically; it has become a lightning rod and handy scapegoat for all discontent related to liberalization and globalization. What is needed are reform mechanisms that give incentives and comfort to reputable private investors, that create and sustain the policy and regulatory institutions that make governments competent and honest partners with the private operators, while at the same time protecting consumers, particularly the most disadvantaged, from abuse.
    Keywords: privatization, weak institutions, poverty, liberalization, globalization, incentives
    JEL: E21 E20 D60 F4 O1
    Date: 2006–03

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