This research effort examines the relationship between the Value-added tax and the distribution of social welfare. The main hypothesis of this effort argues that implementation of and reliance on a Value-added tax will lead to more equitable distributions of social welfare. Relevant theories of public finance and literature reviews of peer-edited articles are provided as support for the empirical work performed to test this hypothesis. Using a panel of 34 OECD member states over the period between 1995 and 2010, fixed-effects and random-effects regression models are run. The results of the fixed-effects model do not conform to the hypothesis while the results of the random-effects model do. While the results conflict, the findings do suggest that the propensity to spend government revenue on social policy areas is crucial for a more equitable distribution of social welfare. It is therefore implied that the Value-added tax is an effective tool to raise the necessary funds for this purpose but such a tool will lead to beneficial welfare effects only if its revenues are spent in a socially optimal way.


Burnell, Barbara




Econometrics | Finance | Income Distribution


Value-added, VAT, social welfare, public finance, optimal taxation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Eric G. Tonian