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The Average Tax Burden and the Welfare Implications of Global Tax Progressivity

John P. Formby, W. James Smith and Paul D. Thistle
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John P. Formby: University of Alabama
Paul D. Thistle: University of Alabama

Public Finance Review, 1990, vol. 18, issue 1, 3-24

Abstract: The measurement of global tax progressivity has been extensively debated over the last decade. We find that the debate stems from a failure to fully recognize the role of the average tax burden. We demonstrate that, once the effect of the average tax burden is controlled for, the two major approaches to global progressivity measurement, which have been long thought to be fundamentally different, must rank tax systems the same way. We show that valid welfare inferences can be drawn from global progressivity comparisons only under these same conditions.

Date: 1990
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