Cover of EconPol Working Paper 51

Structural Tax Reforms and Public Spending Efficiency

António Afonso (EconPol Europe; ISEG; REM/UECE), João Tovar Jalles (EconPol Europe; ISEG; REM/UECE; Economics for Policy and Centre for Globalization and Governance; IPAG Business School), Ana Venâncio (ISEG; ADVANCE/CSG)

This working paper, from António Afonso, João Tovar Jalles and Ana Venâncio, evaluates the effects of structural tax reforms on government spending efficiency in a sample of OECD economies over the period 2007-2016. Increases in tax rates result in falling public efficiency, with the negative effect found to be more significant for increases in personal income tax and value added tax. In times of economic expansion, increasing the corporate income tax base and reducing personal income tax rates were found to have a positive impact on public sector efficiency. In recessions, efficiency improves when the personal income tax and value added tax bases increase and the corporate income tax rate increases. 

Abstract

We evaluate the effects of structural tax reforms on government spending efficiency in a sample of OECD economies over the period 2007-2016. After calculating input spending efficiency scores, we assess the relevance for efficiency of narrative tax changes in a panel setup. We find that: i) input efficiency scores average around 0.6-07; ii) increases in the tax rates are reflected in falling public sector efficiency; iii) such negative effect is significant for PIT and VAT; iv) controlling for endogeneity, increases in tax rates are still associated with lower public sector efficiency, mainly in PIT; v) increasing tax bases for PIT and VAT improve public sector efficiency; vi) in economic expansion periods, increasing CIT base and reducing PIT rates, positively affect public sector efficiency; ix) in recessions, efficiency improves when PIT and VAT bases increase and CIT rate increases.

Citation

António Afonso, João Tovar Jalles, Ana Venâncio: "Structural Tax Reforms and Public Spending Efficiency", EconPol Working Paper 51, December 2020