The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems

International Tax and Public Finance, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1998

Posted: 11 May 1998

See all articles by George Warskett

George Warskett

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Stanley L. Winer

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration; Carleton University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Walter Hettich

California State University, Fullerton - Department of Economics

Abstract

We explore the nature of tax complexity in competitive political systems. The analysis does not rely upon imperfections in the operation of the public sector. Complexity arises in the course of the struggle for office, during which political parties are induced to propose platforms that discriminate carefully among heterogeneous voters. A basic model is enriched by the addition of administration costs and self-selection, factors which limit the ability of any government to discriminate fully. The effect on complexity of inequalities in political influence is also investigated. The analysis suggests that simple tax systems (such as a flat tax or a broadly based tax without special provisions) are not compatible with vigorous political competition.

JEL Classification: H11, H20, H21

Suggested Citation

Warskett, George and Winer, Stanley L. and Hettich, Walter, The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems. International Tax and Public Finance, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1998, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=57389

George Warskett (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Stanley L. Winer

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada
613-520-2600 x2630 (Phone)
613-520-2551 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.carleton.ca/winer

Carleton University - Department of Economics ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada
613-520-2600 ex.2630 (Phone)
613-520-2551 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.carleton.ca/winer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Walter Hettich

California State University, Fullerton - Department of Economics ( email )

Fullerton, CA 92834
United States

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