Mathews: Public Finance and Tax Equity in the Arabian Gulf Monarchies

Abstract:

his study examines notions of public finance equity in the six Arabian Gulf monarchies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Because of unique characteristics of government expenditures  and revenues in these monarchies, many of the standard concepts of public finance (such as the Benefits Principle, Ability-to-Pay Principle, Vertical Equity, and Horizontal Equity) do not provide relevant insights. Consequently, four innovative notions of equity are reviewed and discussed: Within Group Horizontal Equity; Within Group Vertical Equity; Favored Group Horizontal Equity; and Favored Group Vertical Equity. Finally, these four conceptions of equity are applied to a discussion of potential future changes to the existing public financing systems within the countries in this region.

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