Walking a tightrope: business, the tax system and tax conscience in Greece, 1955-1989

Pittaki, Zoi (2017) Walking a tightrope: business, the tax system and tax conscience in Greece, 1955-1989. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the interaction between business and the system of taxation in Greece, from the mid-1950s to the late-1980s. The key finding is that the system of taxation was one of the components of the Greek economic environment that was posing difficulties to business and was perceived by entrepreneurs as an obstacle to their activities. The issues explored are a series of administrative weaknesses of the system, such as the insufficient organisation and bureaucratic rigidities of the tax services, the complexity and constant alterations of the tax laws, but also the problematic relations with the tax officers, who were often accused to be lacking in training, arbitrary in their decisions and sometimes also corrupt. This study contributes to the current debates about the Greek economy and the causes of the crisis affecting the country. In this respect, it also throws light on the big issue of tax evasion burdening the country’s fiscal system. However, the research also belongs to the wider literature examining entrepreneurship from a business history perspective, to that focusing on the relation between entrepreneurship and institutions, to the debates regarding the ways entrepreneurship is affected by the socio-political and economic environment but also to institutional analyses about taxation. The thesis comprises of an introductory chapter, five main chapters and a conclusion. The introductory chapter presents the topic and its importance and analyses the theoretical basis on which the study is sustained. It also refers to the primary sources and the secondary material used in the thesis. The first one of the main chapters offers key information about the system of taxation, the political system and the system of public administration in Greece. The next four chapters examine disadvantages of the tax system such as the complexity of legislation and the insufficient organisation of the tax services, presenting also entrepreneurs’ perceptions about the effects of such disadvantages. The analysis also presents the voices of other parts of society, such as politicians, tax professionals and ordinary citizens, with regards to such disadvantages and the broader dysfunctionality of the tax system. The conclusion chapter suggests a series of possible reforms that could be implemented in order to improve the functioning of the tax system today. It also analyses the ways in which this thesis contributes to Greek historiography, to institutional analyses about taxation, but also to the literature concerning the interaction between institutions and entrepreneurship and more precisely, the interaction between entrepreneurship and taxation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, tax system, tax administration, Greek economy, tax evasion, tax compliance, business environment, tax conscience, institutions.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DF Greece
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Rollings, Professor Neil
Date of Award: 2017
Embargo Date: 20 March 2020
Depositing User: Ms Zoi Pittaki
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8028
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2017 16:15
Last Modified: 10 May 2017 07:35
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8028

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