Case Study Research and International Tax Theory

30 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2010  

Allison Christians

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 21, 2010


Over the last ten years, legal scholars have begun to use what they describe as "case studies" in an effort to develop better theories about how governments can or should impose taxation on international activities. The attributes and function of case studies, while well-studied and documented in other disciplines, has not been explored in tax law scholarship. This Article explores case study research in international tax law scholarship and argues that legal scholars could significantly advance international tax theory by approaching their case studies more explicitly and more methodically, and especially by employing qualitative social science research methods. This approach to case studies would help legal scholars more effectively test established international tax theories and assumptions, reveal information that will help new theories and assumptions to emerge, and create new spaces for policy development in international tax law.

Keywords: international tax, international law, taxation, legal scholarship, method, methodology, case study, legal method, qualitative, interviewing, theory, heuristic, configurative, epistemology

JEL Classification: K33, K34

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, Case Study Research and International Tax Theory (April 21, 2010). St. Louis Law Journal, 2010 ; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1110. Available at SSRN: or

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Rue Peel
Montréal, Quebec

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