Workshop:Taxation for Redistribution since 1945: North America and Western Europe in Comparison
December 5-7, 2014, German Historical Institute, Washington D.C.
The “worlds of welfare capitalism” have differed substantially among the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Germany, the Scandinavian, and other West European countries since 1945, but a common and persistent belief in the social and economic benefits of some redistribution of income and wealth with the help of progressive taxation has been discernible. The workshop will explore how this idea and associated fiscal theory and tax law concerning societal redistribution developed since the second half of the 20th century. Our fundamental question is: How have the two trends of growing inequality and globalization in the second half of the 20th century interacted to shape tax ideas and tax policies?
The old industrialized nations in North America and Europe experienced a transition from a secular “downward swing” in income inequality (Simon Kuznets 1955) to a resurgence of income and wealth differences following the 1970s, sometimes described as a “great U-turn” (Harrison/Bluestone 1988). At roughly the same time, the United States and Europe have experienced several waves of economic globalization with their respective challenges.
In addition to our main question – how these two trends interacted to shape tax ideas and policies – a series of subsidiary and interrelated questions will be discussed in the workshop:
What has been the relationship between these two trends and the level and character of tax resistance in the United States and Western Europe?
How have supply-side and efficiency-oriented economic goals and policies as well as international tax competition interfered with the redistributive aims of taxation?
How extensively have socio-demographic changes (ageing societies; increasing migration and cultural diversity),and societal trends in education, work, and life styles influenced redistributive tax policy?
What does the history of redistributive taxation since 1945 tell about (changing) social structures and power relations within and possibly also between nations?
The conveners invite researchers, including Ph.D. students, from the field of economic and social history, fiscal sociology, political science, and the history of law and/or of public finance to join them in a discussion of these and related questions.
Conveners: Gisela Hürlimann (University of Zurich and GHI Washington), W. Elliot Brownlee (University of California Santa Barbara)
Please send a proposal of no more than 500 words and a short CV to Susanne Fabricius firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DEADLINE for submissions is June 15, 2014. Advice upon acceptance will follow in July 2014.
The GHI will cover travel expenses and accommodation for the participants.
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