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The Politics of Wealth Taxes


  • Keith G. Banting


While nineteenth-century conservatives feared that the advent of democratic government would lead to a major redistribution of wealth, democracy has proven relatively gentle with the wealthy. This paper analyzes the politics of wealth taxes, drawing on the rights of both the public choice tradition and comparative studies of the politics of redistribution. Net wealth taxes, which exist in approximately half of the OECD nations, are found to be highly dependent on the strength of left political forces; and although wealth transfer taxes exist in most OECD nations, their abolition or erosion in several countries suggests a narrowing of their political base. The paper concludes that a political constituency in favor of increased reliance on wealth taxes in Canada cannot be taken for granted.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith G. Banting, 1991. "The Politics of Wealth Taxes," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 17(3), pages 351-367, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:17:y:1991:i:3:p:351-367

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. La riqueza debería tributar más
      by Santiago Lago Peñas in Res Publica on 2012-08-21 21:08:03


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    Cited by:

    1. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "The economics of taxing net wealth: A survey of the issues," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 12/5, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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