nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒17
thirteen papers chosen by
Oliver Budzinski
University of Southern Denmark

  1. Tax systems and tax harmonisation in the East African Community (EAC) By Hans-Georg Petersen
  2. "Overlapping Tax Revenue, Soft Budget, and Rent Seeking" By Toshihiro Ihori
  3. On the formation of coalitions to provide public goods: Experimental evidence from the lab By Dannenberg, Astrid; Lange, Andreas; Sturm, Bodo
  4. The effects of (incentivized) belief elicitation in public goods experiments By Simon Gaechter; Elke Renner
  5. Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007 By Friedrich Schneider; Andreas Buehn; Claudio E. Montenegro
  6. Expenditure Efficiency and the Optimal Size of Government in Developing Countries By Yogi Rahmayanti; Theara Horn
  7. Impact of tax rate cut cum base broadening reforms on heterogeneous firms: Learning from the German tax reform 2008 By Finke, Katharina; Heckemeyer, Jost H.; Reister, Timo; Spengel, Christoph
  8. On the Incidence of Substituting Consumption Taxes for Income Taxes By A Krause;
  9. Fat Taxes and Thin Subsidies: Distributional Impacts and Welfare Effects By Salois, Matthew J; Tiffin, Richard
  10. In Search of Lost Revenue: Why Restoring Fiscal Soundness after a Crisis is harder than it looks By Masato Miyazaki
  11. The relationship between corruption and public investment at the municipalities’ level in Indonesia By Dartanto, Teguh
  12. Tax Revenue Downturns: Anatomy and Links to Imports By Pablo Lopez Murphy; Kun Li
  13. Infrastructures and productivity: an updated survey By Angel de la Fuente

  1. By: Hans-Georg Petersen
    Abstract: In the first part of the report of the GTZ expert group an overview on the basics of integration and tax harmonisation within a common market is given. Chapter II. concentrates on the problems of national and international tax law regarding double taxation before the harmonisation process within the EU is described in detail. This process is not a best practice example but at least the experiences made in the course of the last five decades are interesting enough and might contribute important information for regions, which more or less recently have started a similar endeavour. The harmonisation needs are discussed for value added taxation (VAT), excise taxation, and income taxation. The problems of tax administrations, procedures laws, taxpayers’ rights and obligations as well as tax compliance are also taken into consideration. The second part of the study reviews the national tax systems within the EAC member countries. Before the single taxes are described in more detail, the macroeconomic situation is illuminated by some basic figures and the current stand of the inner-community integration analysed. Then the single tax bases and tax rates are confronted to shed some light on the necessities for the development of a common market within the near future. Again the value added tax laws, excise taxes and income taxes are discussed in detail, while regarding the latter the focus is on company taxation. For a better systematic analysis the national tax laws are confronted within an overview. The chapter is closed with a summary of the tax rates applied and a rough estimation of the tax burdens within the Partner States. The third part of this report contains the policy recommendations of the expert group following the same structures as the chapters before and presenting the results for the VAT, the excises and the corporate income tax (CIT). Additionally the requirements for tax procedures and administration as well as problems of transparency and information exchange are discussed in detail before the strategic recommendations are derived in close relation to the experiences made within the EU harmonisation process. The recommendations are based on the following normative arguments: (1) Tax harmonisation is a basic requirement for economic integration. (2) Equality of taxation is an imperative of tax justice and demands the avoidance of double taxation as well as the combat of tax evasion and corruption. (3) The avoidance of harmful tax competition between the Partner States. (4) The strengthening of taxpayers’ rights in tax procedures. Hence, all kinds of income, goods and services should be taxed once and only once.
    Keywords: Centralization, decentralization, ethnic differences, fiscal federalism, fiscal planning, good governance, harmonization, integration, nation building, revenue sharing, sustainable fiscal policy, tax reform. Compliance, corruption, direct taxes, double taxation, East African Community, indirect taxes, information exchange, integration, international tax law, revenue authorities, tax administration, taxation, tax harmonization, tax system, transparency.
    JEL: H2 H7 H83 F5 F15 N47 O2
    Date: 2010–01
  2. By: Toshihiro Ihori (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the soft-budget constraint with grants from the central government to local governments tends to internalize the vertical externality of local public investment by stimulating local expenditure when both the central and local governments impose taxes on the same economic activities financed by public investment. The model incorporates the local governments' rent-seeking activities in a multi-government setting. The soft-budget constraint is welfare deteriorating because it stimulates rent-seeking activities, although a soft-budget game may attain the first-best level of public investment.
    Date: 2010–07
  3. By: Dannenberg, Astrid; Lange, Andreas; Sturm, Bodo
    Abstract: The provision of public goods often relies on voluntary contributions and cooperation. While most of the experimental literature focuses on individual contributions, many real-world problems involve the formation of institutions among subgroups (coalitions) of players. International agreements serve as one example. This paper experimentally tests theory on the formation of coalitions in different institutions and compares those to a voluntary contribution mechanism. The experiment confirms the rather pessimistic conclusions from the theory: only few players form a coalition when the institution prescribes the full internalization of mutual benefits of members. Contrary to theory, coalitions that try to reduce the freeriding incentives by requiring less provision from their members, do not attract additional members. Substantial efficiency gains occur, however, both along the extensive and intensive margin when coalition members can each suggest a minimum contribution level with the smallest common denominator being binding. The experiment thereby shows that the acceptance of institutions depends on how terms of coalitions are reached. --
    Keywords: public goods,institutions,coalition formation,cooperation
    JEL: C72 C92 D71 H41
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Elke Renner (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Belief elicitation is an important methodological issue for experimental economists. There are two generic questions: 1) Do incentives increase belief accuracy? 2) Are there interaction effects of beliefs and decisions? We investigate these questions in the case of finitely repeated public goods experiments. We find that belief accuracy is significantly higher when beliefs are incentivized. The relationship between contributions and beliefs is slightly steeper under incentives. However, we find that incentivized beliefs tend to lead to higher contribution levels than either non-incentivized beliefs or no beliefs at all. We discuss the implications of our results for the design of public good experiments.
    Keywords: Incentives, beliefs, experimental methodology, public goods
    JEL: C90
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Friedrich Schneider; Andreas Buehn; Claudio E. Montenegro
    Abstract: This paper presents estimations of the shadow economies for 162 countries, including developing Eastern European, Central Asian, and high-income countries over the period 1999 to 2006/2007. According to the estimations, the average size of the shadow economy (as a percentage of "official" gross domestic product) in 2006 in 98 developing countries is 38.7 percent; in 21 Eastern European and Central Asian (mostly transition) countries, it is 38.1 percent, and in 25 high-income countries, it is 18.7 percent. The authors find that the driving forces of the shadow economy are an increased burden of taxation (both direct and indirect), combined with labor market regulations and the quality of public goods and services, as well as the state of the “official” economy.
    Keywords: shadow economy of 162 countries, tax burden, quality of state institutions, regulation, MIMIC and other estimation methods.
    JEL: O17 O5 D78 H2 H11 H26
    Date: 2010–07
  6. By: Yogi Rahmayanti (Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University); Theara Horn (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
    Abstract: Government efficiency plays a significant role in the relationship between government expenditure and economic growth. Based on panel data from 63 developing countries 1990 to 2003, we calculate efficiency scores using Data Envelopment Analysis, incorporate them into a simple model of growth with government expenditure. We find that there is a critical level of efficiency required for government expenditure to have positive effect on growth. Further, above a critical level of efficiency, greater efficiency lowers the optimal size of government expenditure required to maximize growth.
    Keywords: Fiscal Policy, Government Expenditure, Public Sector Efficiency, Growth
    JEL: H50 E6 O4
    Date: 2010–07
  7. By: Finke, Katharina; Heckemeyer, Jost H.; Reister, Timo; Spengel, Christoph
    Abstract: The German corporate tax reform of 2008 has brought about important cuts in corporate tax rates, which were at the same time accompanied by significant changes in the determination of the tax base for both major German corporate taxes - corporate income tax and trade tax. The reform followed the distinct and internationally prevalent pattern of tax rate cut cum base broadening. Its implications are thus not unique to Germany. Especially in view of the current economic crisis, questions on the distribution of the tax burden among firms of different characteristics have arisen and still remain at the heart of the academic and political debate in Germany and other countries. In this paper we present a new corporate microsimulation model, ZEW TaxCoMM, which allows for the coherent micro-based analysis of revenue implications of tax reforms and the distribution of tax consequences among heterogeneous firms. The model processes firm-level financial accounting input data and derives the firm specific tax base and tax due endogenously in accordance with the tax code. To smooth out distortions between the sample and the population of German corporations, the sample is extrapolated on the basis of the corporate income tax statistic. The simulation results show inter alia that the average annual relief as measured by the average decline in the effective tax burden on cash flow amounts to 2.8 percentage points for large corporations and to 6 percentage points for small corporations. Furthermore, the results illustrate that firms with low profitability, high debt ratio and high capital intensity benefit least from the reform. As to tax revenues, the reform induced decrease amounts to 9.8 billion and the trade tax gains fiscally in importance. --
    Keywords: tax reform,microsimulation,tax policy evaluation
    JEL: H25 H32 K34 C8
    Date: 2010
  8. By: A Krause;
    Abstract: This paper shows that tax reforms involving an increase in consumption taxes and a decrease in income taxes cannot always be designed in a way that protects the welfare of some chosen class of consumer (e.g., low-income households), even if the government is indifferent to the welfare effects on all other consumers. This is contrary to common intuition and claims by some governments.
    Keywords: Tax incidence; consumption taxes; income taxes; tax reform.
    JEL: D6 H22
    Date: 2010–07
  9. By: Salois, Matthew J; Tiffin, Richard
    Abstract: The extant literature on fat taxes and thin subsidies tends to focus on the overall effectiveness of such fiscal instruments in altering diets and improving health. However, little is known about the welfare impacts of fiscal food policies on society. This paper fills a gap in the literature by assessing the distributional impacts and welfare effects resulting from a tax-subsidy combination on different food groups. Using the methods derived from marginal tax reform theory, a formal welfare economics framework is developed allowing the calculation of the distributional characteristics of various food groups and approximate welfare measures of prices changes caused by a tax-subsidy combination. The distributional characteristics reveal that many of the food groups target by a fat tax are consumed in greater concentration by low-income households than higher-income households. The overall welfare effect of a fat tax and thin subsidy combination is found to be negative, meaning that the thin subsidy is not enough to compensate for the negative impacts of the fat tax.
    Keywords: distributional characteristic, fat tax, obesity, thin subsidy, welfare., Health Economics and Policy, D30, D60, H20, I10, I30.,
    Date: 2010–03–29
  10. By: Masato Miyazaki
    Abstract: This note argues that because fiscal deficit after a crisis owe much to a drop in tax revenues and a sluggish revenue growth, its adjustment has to rely more on revenue augmentation than commonly thought. Cutting extra spending in the wake of the crisis would not balance the book, while a natural growth of tax revenue after the recovery may take a long time before financing the pre-crisis level of expenditure. Faced with unpopular choices, the government may implicitly prefer seeing higher inflation.
    Date: 2010–06–09
  11. By: Dartanto, Teguh
    Abstract: This research is conducted to quantitatively measure the relationship between corruption and public investment at municipalities’ level in Indonesia. According to Nash Equilibrium derived from mixed strategies, the relationship between corruption and public investment can be both positive and negative depending on the level of the corruption Index. Moreover, the econometric estimations from cross section data and pooled data consistently confirm that the relationship between corruption and public investment is in non linear quadratic form. It was found that the public investment reaches the lowest level when the corruption index ranges from 4.42-4.64.
    Keywords: Corruption; Public Investment; Game Theory; Regional Development
    JEL: H0 R11 C72
    Date: 2010–03
  12. By: Pablo Lopez Murphy; Kun Li
    Abstract: We study historical tax revenue downturn episodes—where tax revenue-to-GDP ratios decline sharply—and explore the link between tax revenues and imports. We document that downturn episodes of at least 1 percentage point of GDP in one year are common. The tax types that account for these episodes are different in advanced, emerging and developing, and oil producing countries. We find that tax revenue downturns and import contractions have a statistically significant link. Finally, we show that changes in imports are a statistically significant determinant of changes in tax revenues even when controlling for changes in the output gap and in the terms of trade.
    Date: 2010–06–09
  13. By: Angel de la Fuente
    Abstract: The relationship between infrastructures and productivity has been the subject of an ongoing debate during the last two decades. The available empirical evidence is inconclusive and its interpretation is complicated by econometric problems that have not been fully solved. This paper surveys the relevant literature, focusing on studies that estimate aggregate production functions or growth regressions, and extracts some tentative conclusions. On the whole, my reading of the evidence is that there are sufficient indications that public infrastructure investment contributes significantly to productivity growth, at least for countries where a saturation point has not been reached. The returns to such investment are probably quite high in early stages, when infrastructures are scarce and basic networks have not been completed, but fall sharply thereafter. Hence, appropriate infrastructure provision is probably a key input for development policy, even if it does not hold the key to rapid productivity growth in advanced countries where transportation and communications needs are already adequately served.
    Keywords: infrastructures, public capital, productivity
    JEL: H54 O47
    Date: 2010–06

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