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Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector

Ronald Davies () and Lourenco Paz

No 1006, Working Papers from Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation

Abstract: The debate over the use of tariffs or value added taxes in developing countries has focused on the difficulty of collecting VAT from the informal sector of the economy. This paper contributes by considering this issue with heterogeneous firms and endogenous entry. This yields two new results. First, a cut in the tariff in and of itself can reduce the size of the informal sector. Second, the imposition of a VAT need not increase the number of informal firms. In fact, for many parameterizations of the model, higher VAT reduces informality. Despite this, whether a revenue neutral shift from tariffs to VAT increases or decreases welfare depends on the parametrization. Therefore while this move may be welfare improving in some cases, it is not a one-size fits all policy.

Keywords: Value Added Tax; Heterogeneous Firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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Related works:
Journal Article: Tariffs versus VAT in the presence of heterogeneous firms and an informal sector (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Tariffs Versus VAT in the presence of heterogeneous firms and an informal sector (2010) Downloads
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