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Feasibility of Tax Increase in Korean Welfare State via Estimation of Optimal Tax burden Ratio

KIM, SEONG WOOK 1

1협성대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to present empirical evidence for discussion of financing social welfare via estimating optimal tax burden in the main member countries of the OECD by using Hausman-Taylor method considering endogeneity of explanatory variables. Also, the author produced an international tax comparison index reflecting theoretical hypotheses on revenue-expenditure nexus within a model to compare real tax burden by countries and to examine feasibility of tax increase in Korea. As a result of the analysis, the higher the level of tax burden was, the higher the level of welfare expenditure was, indicating the connection between high burden and high welfare from the aspect of scale. The results also indicated that the subject countries recently entered into the state of low tax burden. Meanwhile, Korea had maintained low burden until the late 1990s but the tax burden soared up since the financial crisis related to the IMF. However, due to the impact of foreign economy and the tax reduction policy, it reentered into the low-burden state after 2009. On the other hand, the degree of social welfare expenditure’s reducing tax burden has been gradually enhanced since the crisis. In this context, the current optimal tax burden ratio of Korea as of 2010 may be 25.8%~26.5% of GDP based on input of welfare expenditure variables, a percent that Korea was investigated to be a ‘high tax burden-low ITC’ country whose tax increase of 0.7~1.4%p may be feasible and that the success of tax system reform for tax increase might be higher probability when compare to others. However, measures of increasing social security contributions and consumption tax were analyzed to be improper from the aspect of managing finance when compared to increase in other tax items, considering the relatively higher ITC. Tax increase is not necessarily required though there may be room for tax increase; the optimal tax burden ratio can be understood as the level that may be achieved on average when compared to other nations, not as the “proper” level. Thus, discussion of tax increase should be accompanied with comprehensive understanding of models of economic developmental difference from nations and institutional & historical attributes included in specific tax mix.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.