Politics and Taxation: An Introduction

19 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2015 Last revised: 11 Feb 2015

See all articles by Eric M. Zolt

Eric M. Zolt

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: 2014


This essay provides some observations about the relationship of politics and taxation and reviews the articles and commentaries that were prepared for the Third Annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Conference on Politics and Taxation held in Los Angeles on October 18, 2013. Understanding the relationship between politics and taxation is important for several reasons. First, it may help explain why countries adopt different taxing and spending patterns. It may also explain why the frequency, success and stability of tax reform efforts vary among countries. Finally a better understanding of politics and taxation may provide insights into such questions on how institutions shape policy outcomes and how tax policy may contribute to successful democratic governments.

The four articles and commentaries cover a wide range of issues. The first article, by Larry Zelenak, examines the controversy generated by Mitt Romney’s remarks in the 2012 presidential campaign about the 47% percent of Americans who pay no income tax. The second article, by Colin McCubbins and Mathew McCubbins, reviews the effectiveness of voter initiatives and propositions in limiting the taxing power of elected officials. The third article, by Michael Doran, examines traditional policy explanations and legislator-motivation explanations to understand the tax legislative process and offers additional factors that may explain legislative behavior in the contemporary U.S. Congress. The final article, by Andrea Campbell, explores how attitudes towards taxes held by different groups in society may have changed during the Obama era.

Keywords: Third Annual NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Conference, politics and taxation, tax reform, tax legislative process

Suggested Citation

Zolt, Eric M., Politics and Taxation: An Introduction (2014). 67 Tax Law Review 453 (2014); UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 15-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559925

Eric M. Zolt (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

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