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Representation without taxation, taxation without consent: the legacy of Spanish colonialism in America

Irigoin, Alejandra (2016) Representation without taxation, taxation without consent: the legacy of Spanish colonialism in America. Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, 34 (2). pp. 169-208. ISSN 0212-6109

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0212610916000069

Abstract

The essay examines Spain’s colonial legacy in the long-run development of Spanish America. It surveys the fiscal and constitutional outcomes of independence and assesses the relative burden imposed by colonialism. Constitutional asymmetries between revenue collecting and spending agents constrained de facto governments’ power to tax. Inherent disparities embedded in the colonial fiscal system worsened with vaguely defined representation for subjects and territories and vexed their aggregation into a modern representative polity. Governments with limited fiscal capacity failed to deliver public goods and to distribute the costs and benefits of independence equitably. Growing indirect taxes, debt and money creation allowed them to transfer the fiscal burden to other constituents or future generations. Taxpayers became aware of the asymmetry between private contributions and public goods and hence favoured a low but regressive taxation. Comparisons with trajectories in the metropolis and the United States are offered to qualify this legacy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJourna...
Additional Information: © 2016 Instituto Figuerola, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations
N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N16 - Latin America; Caribbean
N - Economic History > N2 - Financial Markets and Institutions
N - Economic History > N2 - Financial Markets and Institutions > N20 - General, International, or Comparative
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N40 - General, International, or Comparative
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2016 13:43
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 02:28
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/67384

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