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Adam Smith on Public Expenditure and Taxation

Posted: 22 Oct 2003  

Maurício Chalfin Coutinho

Universidade Estadual de Campinas - Instituto de Economia

Abstract

This paper presents Adam Smith's view on taxation and public
expenditure, by means of an almost literal reading of the Wealth of Nations famous passages on the "duties of the sovereign" and on the "maxims of taxation". Contrarily to the commonest usage of these passages, we will show that their core is the preoccupation with the public expenditure soaring and the defence of decentralisation. Furthermore - and also contrarily to the existing interpretations - we defend the non-existence of any contradiction between Smith's income and price theory (and the incidence hypothesis), provided due attention is paid to the guiding role of the "maxims".

Keywords: Adam Smith, taxation, public expenditure

JEL Classification: B10, B12

Suggested Citation

Chalfin Coutinho, Maurício, Adam Smith on Public Expenditure and Taxation. Nova Economia, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=445280

Maurício Chalfin Coutinho (Contact Author)

Universidade Estadual de Campinas - Instituto de Economia ( email )

Campinas - Paulo
Brazil

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