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The Economics of Taxation

Edited by Henry Aaron and Michael J. Boskin

This volume brings together the contributions of twenty-four economists and lawyers on tax policy. Five papers build on the work of Joseph A. Pechman in analyzing the distribution of tax burdens. A. B. Atkinson relates the analysis of redistribution of income through the tax system to horizontal equity, James Buchanan and Geoffrey Brennan demonstrate that a full analysis of tax burdens must encompass tax-induced inefficiencies, and Boris I. Bittker examines how tax inequities become resource misallocation. In separate papers, Joseph J. Minarik and Benjamin A. Okner elaborate on and extend Pechman’s analyses of tax burdens. Three papers address the concept of tax expenditures: Stanley S. Surrey and Paul R. McDaniel trace the development of the idea, Martin S. Feldstein demonstrates that some use of tax expenditures is necessary for the sake of economic efficiency, and Gerard M. Brannon examines the relations between tax expenditures and the distribution of income. Michael J. Boskin, Richard Goode, Peter Mieszkowski, and John B. Shoven and Paul Taubman examine alternative tax bases. Harvey E. Brazer and Alicia H. Munnell, in separate papers, argue that the basic unit subject to the personal income tax should be the individual rather than the family. David F. Bradford and Arnold C. Harberger analyze changes that would reduce present biases in the tax treatment of investment income. George F. Break and Charles E. McLure, Jr., consider possible improvements in the personal and corporation income taxes imposed by states. E. Cary Brown, Richard A. Musgrave, and Emil M. Sunley deal with fiscal policy. Brown draws lessons from U.S. History since 1945. Musgrave confronts Marxian and other theories of fiscal crises with the facts. Sunley describes the many pitfalls between proposals for even modest tax change and final congressional action.

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