Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1933745
 


 



From Programmatic Reform to Social Science Research: The National Tax Association and the Promise and Perils of Disciplinary Encounters


Ajay K. Mehrotra


Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Joseph J. Thorndike


Tax Analysts; Northwestern University School of Law; University of Virginia - College of Arts and Sciences

September 26, 2011

Law & Society Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 593-630, 2011
Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1933745

Abstract:     
This article uses the history of the National Tax Association (NTA), the leading twentieth-century organization of tax professionals, to strengthen our empirical understanding of the disciplinary encounter between law and the social sciences. Building on existing sociolegal scholarship, this article explores how the NTA embodied tax law’s ambivalent historical interaction with public economics. Since its founding in 1907, the NTA has changed dramatically from an eclectic and catholic organization of tax professionals with a high public profile to an insular, scholarly association of mainly academic public finance economists. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative historical evidence, we contend that the transformation in the NTA’s mission and output can be explained by the increasing professionalization and specialization of tax knowledge, and by the dominant role that public economics has played in shaping that knowledge. This increasing specialization allowed the NTA to secure its position as a bastion of scholarly tax research. But that achievement came at a cost to the organization's broader civic mission. This article is thus a historical account of how two competing professional disciplines – tax law and public economics – have interacted within a particular organizational field, namely the research and analysis of tax law and policy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Tax law, public economics, history of tax policy, interdisciplinary studies

JEL Classification: A12, A14, B25, E62, H20, K34, N42

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: September 30, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Mehrotra, Ajay K. and Thorndike, Joseph J., From Programmatic Reform to Social Science Research: The National Tax Association and the Promise and Perils of Disciplinary Encounters (September 26, 2011). Law & Society Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 593-630, 2011; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1933745. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1933745

Contact Information

Ajay K. Mehrotra (Contact Author)
Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )
211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
Joseph J. Thorndike
Tax Analysts ( email )
6830 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22213
United States
Northwestern University School of Law
600 North Lake Shore Drive
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60601
United States
University of Virginia (UVA) - College of Arts and Sciences ( email )
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 561
Downloads: 55
Download Rank: 225,689

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.391 seconds