Revenue Implications of Trade Taxes

  • G. K. Shaw
Chapter

Abstract

Trade taxes, by which we mean taxes levied both upon imports and exports, and also the profits of import and export marketing boards, form an important source of revenue for many of the less advanced economies. Moreover, they appear to be relatively more important in the structure of government receipts, in those countries with lower per capita income on the one hand, and in those countries with lower ratios of fiscal receipts to GDP on the other. There is a clear negative relationship between the importance of trade taxes as a percentage of all government revenues and the level of economic development where the latter is proxied by estimates of per capita income (Hitiris and Weekes, 1986). Moreover, for many less advanced economies in the early stages of development, the degree of openness of the economy (where openness may be defined as exports plus imports as a percentage of GDP) serves as a much superior indicator of taxable capacity than per capita income (Hinrichs, 1965). The salient facts are summarised with the aid of Table 11.1. Compare also Lewis (1963) and Greenaway (1980, 1984).

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© G. K. Shaw 1988

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