On the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries
Knud J., MUNK
Contrary to what is implied by the so called ÒWahsington consensusÓ, Stiglitz (2003) has argued that in the least developed countries border taxes are superior to VAT. However, supported by much respectable research, the IMF and World BankÕs recommend that developing countries substitute VAT for border taxes. The present paper provides an easy to implement parameterised general equilibrium model which may be used as the basis for empirical research, required to reach a consensus opinion within the profession on the issue. The model allows for the fact that different tax systems are associated with different administrative costs, and represents the informal sector as a parameterisation, the CES-UT, of a utility function with explicit representation of the use of time. By means of a quantitative example, it illustrates, on the one hand, that a large informal sector in itself does not justify the use of border taxes, but, on the other hand, when administrative costs of taxation are taken into account, that the size of the informal sector, as claimed as Stiglitz (2003), is indeed important for whether the use of border taxes is desirable or not.
Optimal trade policy, VAT, tax-tariff reform, costs of tax administration, informal sector, developing countries
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