Economists are from Mercury, Policymakers are from Saturn: The Tax Policy Implications of Communication Failure
5 Wm & Mary Pol. Rev. 1 (2013)
25 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2014
Date Written: 2013
Policymaking lawyers and economists are different types of people who come together in the policymaking realm. Sometimes policymakers rely on economic analysis to make decisions. Sometimes policymakers use economic analysis to support decisions already made. In particular, economic analysis has played a large role in the formation of tax and budgetary policy. However, there is a problem. Not only do economists and lawyers communicate differently, they think, perceive, react and respond differently. They almost seem to be from different planets, speaking different languages. While both lawyers and economists use “stories” to persuade, economic analysis cloaks the story in a complex mathematical model, opaque to those without training in economic theory. The results of economic modeling can obscure the decisions that policymakers and the public need to make — about the direction of the tax system, the nation, and the economy. This article examines the roles economists and lawyers play in the development and implementation of the income tax system.
Keywords: economics, law, policy
JEL Classification: A12, E62, H21, H24, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation