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The contribution of behavioral economics to tax reform in the United Kingdom

  • James, Simon

This paper examines the contribution of behavioral economics to tax reform by examining two major reforms in the United Kingdom which may be seen as natural experiments – the reform of local taxation and the introduction of value added tax. The case for both was based strongly on mainstream economic analysis but one was a failure and the other a success. The introduction of the local community charge, or ‘poll tax’ as it became known, was such a failure that not only did it have to be repealed but it was also a factor in the downfall of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. The introduction of value added tax took more account of behavioral factors and was successful. The paper concludes that a wider approach based on behavioral as well as mainstream economics may have considerable advantages in developing tax policy.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 468-475

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:4:p:468-475
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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