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The Politics of Wealth Taxes

  • Keith G. Banting
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    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.

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    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 17 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 351-367

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:17:y:1991:i:3:p:351-367
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