The Rise of the Value-Added Tax - Introduction

The Rise of the Value Added Tax (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

14 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2015

See all articles by Kathryn James

Kathryn James

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2015


This book explores one of the most significant trends in the evolution of global tax systems by asking how, within less than half a century, the value-added tax (VAT) has risen from relative obscurity to become one of the world's most dominant revenue instruments. Despite its significance, very little is known about why so many countries have adopted the VAT and, in particular, why different countries adopt the types of VAT that they do. The popular mythology provides that the merits of the VAT have underpinned its global spread; however, this book contends that much scholarship on the VAT confuses the question of why the VAT has risen to dominance with the issue of what makes a good VAT. This book combines policy and legal analysis to propose a new way of understanding the rise of this important revenue instrument so as to better reflect the realities of the VATs that are actually implemented.

Keywords: value added tax, tax, tax policy, fiscal policy, policy convergence, political science, public choice, historical institutionalism, fiscal sociology, VAT reform, United States VAT reform, GST Australia

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K34, K39

Suggested Citation

James, Kathryn, The Rise of the Value-Added Tax - Introduction (April 1, 2015). The Rise of the Value Added Tax (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Available at SSRN:

Kathryn James (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800


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