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Opportunities and Challenges for CGE Models in Analysing Taxation

John Freebairn

Economic Papers, 2018, vol. 37, issue 1, 17-29

Abstract: Taxation analysis seeks to describe the effects of current taxes, make forecasts and assess proposed reform options. In each case, the effects on market outcomes, distribution of the tax burden and distortions to decisions and economic efficiency are estimated. When second‐round effects are important, including for most taxes on business and where exemptions from comprehensive tax bases are significant, general equilibrium models are required. A computer general equilibrium model (CGE) with detailed and disaggregated industry, product and factor markets has great potential to quantify the general equilibrium effects of taxation. Challenges and areas for development of available CGE models for taxation analysis include the following: disaggregation of households to assess distribution effects and allow for different elasticities; modelling the effects of the hybrid tax treatment of different household saving and investment options; disaggregation of some business decisions to capture the effects of departures from comprehensive tax bases and of decision‐makers facing different tax systems; and modelling and conveying the implications of imperfect knowledge of key assumptions and parameters.

Date: 2018
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