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

See all articles by Roberta F. Mann

Roberta F. Mann

University of Oregon School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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

Mann, Roberta F., Economists are from Mercury, Policymakers are from Saturn: The Tax Policy Implications of Communication Failure (2013). 5 Wm & Mary Pol. Rev. 1 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2508523

Roberta F. Mann (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States
541-346-3854 (Phone)
541-346-1564 (Fax)

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