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Oil Revenues vs Domestic Taxation: Deeper insights into the crowding-out effect

Michael Keller

Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: This paper exploits the 2000s commodity price boom to identify the impact of oil revenues on domestic taxation in oil exporting countries. It estimates the average effect of oil revenues on non-resource taxation for 19 oil exporting countries using synthetic control methodology and finds that non-resource tax per capita is on average 14% lower in oil exporting countries because of the 2000s commodity price boom compared to a scenario without price shock. This result confirms the existing literature concerning the resource revenues vs domestic taxation debate. Additional knowledge is derived from the synthetic control method showing that the effect is heterogeneous and occurs only in oil exporting countries with a low level of institutional quality, which are highly oil dependent and prefer the use of tax instruments rather than non-tax instruments. Furthermore, the dynamics of the effect differs in countries with a state-owned oil sector compared to a private-owned oil sector. These findings are new within the debate and contribute to our understanding of the effect of natural resources on domestic taxation. Policy makers concerned by a crowding-out effect should invest the oil dividend to improve their tax administration to avoid the negative consequences accompanying low domestic taxes such as the resulting dependency on a volatile income stream from oil, difficulty in achieving non-fiscal objectives, and lack of positive externalities from taxes such as transparency and better governance.

Keywords: Natural resources; oil; oil revenue; tax revenue (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H2 Q33 Q38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-pbe
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