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Making and breaking tax systems geary lecture 2012

Besley, Timothy (2013) Making and breaking tax systems geary lecture 2012. Economic and Social Review, 44 (3). pp. 297-391. ISSN 0012-9984

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'The fiscal history of a people is above all an essential part of its general history. An enormous influence on the fate of nations emanates from the economic bleeding which the needs of the state necessitates, and from the use to which the results are put.' Joseph Schumpeter, "The Crisis of the Tax State", 1917/18, page 100. The above quote is from an article by Schumpeter which is often thought of as one of the founding articles in the field of fiscal sociology. I am fairly certain that many economists, even those who work in the field of public finance, have not engaged very much with the issues that Schumpeter raises here. It is worth bearing in mind he wrote the words above in an era when it was common for governments of the most prosperous countries to raise around 10 per cent of GDP in taxes. Even then, the question that pre-occupied Schumpeter was whether and how revenues on that scale were sustainable. This requires a proper appreciation of the economic, social and political forces that make tax raising possible.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Economic and Social Research Institute
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2013 16:13
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 18:54

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