The New Political Economy of Taxation in the Developing World

Document Type




Format of Original

23 p.

Publication Date



Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Source Publication

Review of International Political Economy

Source ISSN



Concomitant with globalization, neoliberal tax reforms have spread across the globe since the early 1980s. In many countries, statutory rates, the number of tax brackets, and the incidence of tax allowances have been reduced for income taxes; in the developing world, international liberalization has also been associated with reduced revenues from trade taxes and increased pressures for expansion of the value added tax and income tax revenue intake. Yet, competition for mobile assets and new opportunities for tax avoidance potentially constrains taxation of corporate and personal income. Thus, contemporary conditions create especially severe challenges for the pursuit of greater income equality and enhanced public goods provision in developing nations. The present paper situates this special issue's contributions within the theoretical and empirical literatures that seek to explain contemporary changes in taxation. I argue that we know quite a lot about the tax effects of globalization, domestic politics, and their interaction in rich democracies; we know much less about how international forces and domestic factors influence tax reforms in the developing world. In this context, I highlight how each paper in this volume contributes to our understanding of the impacts of globalization and domestic politics on tax policy choices and, in turn, the challenges and opportunities for revenue mobilization in developing nations.


Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 23, No. 2 (2016): 185-207. DOI.