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World Income Distribution and Tax Reform: What Tax Systems Do Low-Income Countries Need?

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This article develops a new method for assessing relative direct tax burdens across all countries, treating the world as a single economic entity and assuming identical preferences across countries. Empirical results show that the new direct tax burden indices are significantly high in low-income countries in comparison with middle- and high-income countries. This article argues in favour of narrowing the base of income and capital gains tax in low-income countries and a long-term convergence of the tax burden levels across countries. Future research into tax reforms in low-income countries should focus simultaneously on economic growth, quality of life and the natural environment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Central Queensland University, Australia

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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