Tax Prices in a Democratic Polity: The Contemporary Relevance of Antonio De Viti de Marco
Sapienza University of Rome
Richard E. Wagner
George Mason University - Department of Economics
May 15, 2010
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 10-19
While Antonio De Viti de Marco was a significant figure within the Italian School of Public Finance that flourished between 1880 and 1940, his theory of public finance also has great significance for contemporary theorizing. Where contemporary theory largely treats states as acting to modify previously established market equilibria, De Viti theorized that societal equilibrium was established simultaneously in states and markets. De Viti treated the state as a essential productive factor within society, rendering it fictional to conceptualize an economic equilibrium independent of state activity. In contrast to much contemporary literature, De Viti did not treat the state as just a particular instance of market equilibrium. While he extended the logic of market exchange to state activity, he recognized the need to theorize in light of significant differences in institutional arrangements between markets and states. Collective action was guided by tax prices and not market prices. De Viti’s formulation of tax prices demonstrates in turn the important place of constitutional arrangements in his theory of public finance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Antonio De Viti de Marco, Italian School of Public Finance, Tax Prices vs. Market Prices, Constitutional Political Economy
JEL Classification: B13, B31, D72, H40
Date posted: May 15, 2010
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