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Taxes, Efficiency, and Redistribution: Discriminatory Taxation of Villages in Ottoman Palestine, Southern Syria and Transjordan in the Sixteenth Century

Metin Cosgel ()

No 2002-22, Working papers from University of Connecticut, Department of Economics

Abstract: Governments can tax productive activities with either uniform or discriminatory rates among taxpayers. Although discriminatory rates can cause productive inefficiency and require high cost of administration, they can be preferred because of their advantage in distributional flexibility. This paper studies the discriminatory taxation of production in the Fertile Crescent. Using information from the Ottoman tax registers, it examines the basis, distortionary effects, and distributional consequences of discriminatory rates quantitatively. The results challenge widely held beliefs about the basis for discriminatory rates in this region and the Ottoman government's motivation in adapting systems of taxation in newly conquered lands.

Keywords: taxes; efficiency; redistribution; discriminatory rates; Ottoman Empire; Palestine; Syria; Transjordan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002-10, Revised 2004-07
Note: I thank Dhammika Dharmapala, David Feeny, an anonymous reviewer, and participants at the Economic History and Development Workshop at UMass, Amherst; the 2002 Annual Cliometrics Conference in La Crosse, WI; the 2002 Economic History Association Meetings in St. Louis, MO, and the 2002 Middle East Studies Association Meetings in Washington, DC for helpful comments and suggestions. Ali Ozdemir, Hesna Taskomur, and Sadik Yildirim provided valuable research assistance.
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Forthcoming in Explorations in Economic History.

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Journal Article: Taxes, efficiency, and redistribution: Discriminatory taxation of villages in Ottoman Palestine, Southern Syria, and Transjordan in the sixteenth century (2006) Downloads
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