Making the Property Tax Work

Miércoles, Abril 2, 2008

For Immediate Release
Contact: Anthony Flint 617-661-3016 x116

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As the property tax is under fire in the U.S., developing and transitional countries face many challenges as they attempt to establish it as a source of revenue to fund local government services, according to a new book published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Making the Property Tax Work: Experiences in Developing and Transitional Countries (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2008 / 484 pages / Paper / $30.00 / ISBN: 978-1-55844-173-6), edited by Roy Bahl, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, and Joan Youngman, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Valuation and Taxation at the Lincoln Institute, explores how the property tax can be made to work under a variety of circumstances.

Based on a Lincoln Institute conference held in October 2006, the book, with a foreword by Lincoln Institute president Gregory K. Ingram, examines case studies in China, Taiwan, India, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, and Lithuania. Two main sets of issues are addressed: first, how well has the property tax worked in developing and transitional countries? And second, what can be done to make the property tax a more relevant revenue source for local governments in those countries? The numerous advantages of the property tax as a local government revenue source are analyzed and discussed in detail, as are the many perceived disadvantages.

The editors conclude that tax policy and public finance are continually in transition in developing and transitional countries, and that the transitions are moving in the right direction.

Advance praise for Making the Property Tax Work:

“This splendid book presents selected, clear slices of how well (and how poorly) the local property tax works in many countries. Importantly, theory is also carefully presented to gain understanding of why practice differences persist. Surprisingly evident is the commonality of experience among countries (even the United States) at various stages of economic, social, and political development. This book demonstrates as few others do the value of comparative study and analysis.”

--- Oliver Oldman, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School

“No other tax has been around for as long and has been used as widely as the property tax. Yet, it has received relatively little systematic attention. This book provides up-to-date, comprehensive, and informed surveys and analyses of these taxes in … developing countries, transitional economies, and even in ancient times. Readers learn why property taxes are so hated … (and) why they generate more revenue in countries with well-established property rights… The book is a gold mine of information and will fill a major gap in our knowledge of property taxation. This is

particularly important at a time when fiscal decentralization that requires locally controlled tax revenue has become so popular.”

--- Vito Tanzi, Former Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund

About the Editors:

Roy Bahl is professor of economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and is a member of the Lincoln Institute board of directors. He consults on state and local government issues in the United States and on fiscal policy reform with governments in developing and transition economies.

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez is professor of economics and director of the International Studies Program at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He studies tax reform and intergovernmental fiscal relations.

Joan Youngman is senior fellow and chair of the Department of Valuation and Taxation at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. She is an attorney specializing in state and local taxation and the legal problems of valuation for property taxation.

For review copies please contact Anthony Flint at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, More information at

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