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Taxability and Government Support of Business. Activity: Testing Theories of Social-Contract Failure

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2003
Научные труды ЦЕФИР. 2003.  № 29.
Much theory of the state assumes a contractual relationaship between state and society, where the former provides services valued by the latter, typically in return for revenues. However, as emphasized by many scholars, various transaction costs endemic to state-society relations may prevent the negotiations of an efficient Coasian contract. This paper examines this proposition by exploring the nature of government support for business activity in postcomminist Europe and Asia, where many of the transaction costs that hinder efficient contracting between state and society - the state's inability to commit, information asymmetries between state and society, and collective-action problems within society - are especially acute. Analysis of data from a sample of firms in 23 postcommunist countries demonstrates that the state provides more support along a vaiety of dimensions to firms which are more taxable, i.e. firms from which the state can extract a greater share of revenues. Further, firms which report less of their revenues to tax authorities are more likely to say they would pay more taxes to increase government support. Thus, state and society appear to be trapped by their failure to efficiently contract, with frims hiding as much of their revenues as they think they can gate away with, knowing that the state will respond by undersuporting business activity.

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