IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Elements of a Fiscal Politics: Public Choice and Public Finance


  • Geoffrey Brennan


The object of this paper is to indicate how public choice theory and orthodox normative tax theory may be integrated within a single coherent intellectual framework. Because public choice theory has quite different conceptual foundations from normative tax theory, this is no simple task. A purely positive fiscal theory, that derives tax arrangements as one aspect of the emergent political equilibrium, would leave no logical room for normative tax theory at all: the question as to what the tax system ‘ought to be’ becomes irrelevant, or at least inseparable from the broader question as to the appropriateness of general political institutions. However, if tax arrangements are viewed as part of the political institutional framework, normative tax theory can be admitted ‐ but in a somewhat reformulated way. The paper aims to set out briefly the reformulations required.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Brennan, 1984. "Elements of a Fiscal Politics: Public Choice and Public Finance," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 17(3), pages 62-72, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:17:y:1984:i:3:p:62-72

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brennan, Geoffrey & Bohanon, Cecil & Carter, Richard, 1984. "Public Finance and Public Prices: Towards a Reconstruction of Tax Theory," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 39(2), pages 157-181.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:17:y:1984:i:3:p:62-72. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.