The Rise of General Consumption Taxes

Joseph Ganderson, Julian Limberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The chapter analyses the spread of general consumption taxes. It makes two points. First, it shows that the initial introduction of a general consumption tax has boosted revenue-raising capacity in countries around the world. Typically, the first general consumption tax was not a VAT but a less technically sophisticated general sales tax. Second, the chapter uses event history analyses to demonstrate that the uptake of the first general consumption tax was facilitated by revenue needs arising from: (1) mass interstate warfare in the first half of the twentieth century; (2) the adoption of major welfare initiatives; and (3) a marked deterioration of public finances. The historical trajectories of three cases—France, Japan, and Chile—corroborate these findings and call for further study.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Taxation
Subtitle of host publicationHow Modern Taxes Conquered the World
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780192897572
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Economic history
  • Fiscal policy
  • Political economy
  • Taxation
  • Welfare state


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