Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation examines issues on taxation, fiscal policy, and governance in developing countries. The three chapters of the dissertation are summarized as follows:In the first chapter, we argue that models of advanced countries are often applied to developing countries with little consideration for differences in economic structures. Deviating from this norm, we examine fiscal policy effects in a simple DSGE model structured after a developing economy with credit constraints. Building a model akin to that of a developing economy largely dominated by an agriculture sector, we allow for agents that are credit constrained and noncredit-constrained . First, we observe and provide new evidence that allowing for household heterogeneity significantly alters how fiscal policy affects consumption, output, and labor in developing countries when compared to standard representative agent models. Second, we find that shocks are more subdued in the two agent model than the representative agent model when simulated with data for developing countries.For the second chapter, we contribute to the literature on tax models and the field of public economics by examining the fiscal policy effects of a small developing country if it adopts a comprehensive progressive tax structure.We analyze this under the context where a large proportion of households are credit constrained. We discover that under a progressive tax structure, the government finances its purchases by increasing taxes for those with access to financial markets while reducing taxes of households that are credit-constrained suggesting evidence of income redistribution. Finally, we find that macroeconomic analyses are considerably different when the tax structure is progressive compared to flat thereby having several policy implications for developing countries.Lastly, in the third chapter, we use annual aggregate data for 58 developing countries covering the period 2000-2015 to investigate whether alternative elements of governance have differing effects on the relationship between total public debt and private investment. First, results suggest that total public debt is considerably lower in countries with good governance while private investment thrives in countries with favorable political regimes. Second, there is evidence of crowding out(total public debt displaces private investment) with the extent of crowding out largely related to governance. Government effectiveness and corruption are the governance in-dicators that appear to have the greatest impact on investment. Corruption is found to be the most important aspect of governance in terms of the relationship between total public debt and private investment: an increase in total public debt has the greatest effect on reducing private investment in countries with low levels of corruption
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