The Tax State, Benefit and Legitimacy

38 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2015 Last revised: 22 Sep 2015

See all articles by Miranda Stewart

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: August 1, 2015

Abstract

This Working Paper traces the discursive history of the principles of benefit and legitimacy of taxation from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Drawing on the work of scholars from Adam Smith through Richard Musgrave to public choice theorists, it is observed that successful tax states – especially democratic states – seem to depend on both an acceptance by taxpayers of benefits derived under government and a fiscal constitution that limits taxing power. The benefit theory in the context of legitimate government has strengths that are lost if a purely technocratic, narrow economic analysis of public goods is taken. However, both benefit and legitimacy of government are important concepts in the current era of globalisation and fiscal authority, which pose significant challenges to democratic governments. The author argues for a renewed focus on principles of benefit and legitimacy of taxation to fund successful democratic tax states in the global era.

Keywords: Taxation, Benefit theory, ability to pay, legitimacy, public choice, public goods, Adam Smith, Richard Musgrave, globalisation

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Miranda, The Tax State, Benefit and Legitimacy (August 1, 2015). Tax and Transfer Working Paper No. 1/2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2657294 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2657294

Miranda Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 6544 (Phone)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/miranda-stewart

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
114
Abstract Views
526
rank
271,654
PlumX Metrics