Peasants Versus City-dwellers: Taxation and the Burden of Economic Development

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In this book Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Raaj Sah address one of development's major issues. During the early phases of economic development, there are often serious conflicts between the interests of town and country. The Corn Law Debate in England, the economic conflicts between the North and the South prior to the US Civil War, and the Soviet Industrialization Debate are among the historical examples. Most of today's countries face town versus country tensions of increasing severity, including such issues as who should pay how much in taxes, who should get how much in subsidies, and what forms the taxes and subsidies should take. This volume analyses these tensions and issues, taking into account the great diversity of institutions and economic environments observed in different developing countries. While dealing primarily with today's developing countries, the book also sheds some new light on some of the historical controversies. Each chapter contains a non-technical statement of the problems at hand and a summary of the analysis. The book will be of interest to public finance economists, and practitioners and researchers of economic development, as well as to economic historians.