Tax Law Scholarship in Germany and the United States
21 Pages Posted: 5 May 2016
Date Written: May 4, 2016
This article presents a comparative analysis of the very different ways tax law scholarship is understood and performed in two major jurisdictions: the United States and Germany. While U.S. tax scholarship is dominated by "legal realism", interdisciplinary work and major contributions to theoretical or policy issues, German tax scholarship is largely devoted to "black letter law" and its "true" construction. The strength of U.S. academic writing seems to lie in its wide intellectual perspective, its willingness to start from "first principles" and to address fundamental questions of tax reform. The strength of German academic work lies in its close interaction with courts and legislators, its outreach into adjacent fields like corporate law, administrative law and constitutional law. Both U.S. scholars and German scholars might benefit from increased comparative work which has become a natural element of scholarship within the framework of the European Union but looks still rather exotic from the U.S. perspective.
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