Testing Alternative Legal Paradigms: An Experiment in Designing Tax Legislation

72 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2006 Last revised: 25 Feb 2009

Graeme S. Cooper

The University of Sydney Law School

Michael Wenzel

Flinders University

Date Written: May 31, 2006


This article reports on empirical research undertaken to test the proposition that citizens could be made certain of their legal obligations by changing the legal paradigm used to express those obligations. The claim, that employing a new legal paradigm would increase levels of certainty, was made in the context of a particular set of tax reform proposals. Our research tested a number of hypotheses involving different conceptions of the claim being made. We find that the alternative paradigm being presented was inferior to current practice and offer some reasons which would explain our results and the significance of this work for other areas of legal research.

Keywords: taxation, empirical legal research, certainty, legislative drafting

JEL Classification: K34, H25, H26, G38, K22, K10, K34

Suggested Citation

Cooper, Graeme S. and Wenzel, Michael, Testing Alternative Legal Paradigms: An Experiment in Designing Tax Legislation (May 31, 2006). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 06/41; Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 61-94, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=919501 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.919501

Graeme S. Cooper (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Michael Wenzel

Flinders University ( email )

GPO Box 2100
Adelaide S.A. 5001, SA 5063

Paper statistics

Abstract Views