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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the political economy of taxation in democratic states by considering the three most important issues in the field: (1) the evolution of the power to tax in (what are now) the mature constitutional democracies; (2) the nature and determinants of modern tax structures; and (3) redistribution in heterogeneous societies over various horizons and in the face of economic shocks. The discussion considers the ideas and models that have arisen as scholars have grappled with these related issues, and points to some of the outstanding problems that may be worth pursuing in future research.

Keywords: JEL codes: D72, D78, H2, H24, taxation, tax structure, power to tax, public expenditure, Wicksellian connection, competitive political equilibrium, tax discrimination, public debt, common pool, political institutions, veto player, redistribution, moments of distributions

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