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Keywords:

  • H23;
  • D63;
  • H21;
  • indirect taxes;
  • distribution;
  • Greece

Abstract

This paper assesses the distributional impact of indirect taxes among Greek households between 1988 and 2002, a period that coincides with the introduction of significant reforms in the tax system due to EU membership. The highly differentiated indirect tax structure prevailing at the beginning of the period had distributional benefits over the more simplified 2002 tax structure. The overall inequality of the after-tax welfare distribution has increased by 6–12½ per cent and changes in the indirect tax system seem to explain about half of this increase. The paper also applies a recent method of measuring the distributional impact of relative price changes caused by changes in tax rates of commodities (Newbery, 1995) and establishes that indirect tax reforms introduced since 1988 had an adverse impact on the distribution of purchasing power, which nevertheless seems to be very small.