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The Political Economy of Taxation in Latin America
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: June 2019
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online ISBN: 9781108655934

Book description

Paying taxes is one of the least popular activities worldwide. Latin America in particular is notorious for having low direct taxes, weak compliance and enforcement, and high levels of inequality. Although fiscal extraction has gained renewed interest among governments in recent years, with the end of the commodity boom adding special urgency, the successful adoption and implementation of tax reforms is easier said than done, even when tax policy prescriptions are widely shared. This volume provides the first comprehensive, region-wide assessment of the role of political factors, including public opinion, democratic institutions, natural resources, interest groups, political ideology, and state capacity. What explains the region's low levels of taxation? What explains the low progressivity in its tax structure? And what explains considerable differences across countries? In addressing these questions, each of the volume's chapters makes original theoretical and empirical contributions toward understanding how to overcome the political challenges to taxation.


'This is a much-needed volume on the political underpinning of taxation in Latin America. It provides crucial contributions to understand the political factors explaining the relative low levels of taxation in the region as well as variation across countries. This very important book is a must-read both for scholars of comparative political economy and Latin American politics as well as for practitioners seeking to understand the possibilities of fiscal reforms that can help the region build more effective states.'

Maria Victoria Murillo - Columbia University, New York

'Notwithstanding a growing body of literature on state capacity, income inequality, and problems of democracy in Latin America, we still know surprisingly little about how governments in the region tax their populations. This volume brings together theoretical and empirical contributions by some of the leading scholars in the field, and goes a considerable distance towards filling this gap.'

Robert R. Kaufman - Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, New Jersey


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