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Viable Taxation


  • Perroni, Carlo
  • Scharf, Kimberley


Taxation is only sustainable if the general public complies with it. This observation is uncontroversial with tax practitioners but has been ignored by the public finance tradition, which has interpreted tax constitutions as binding contracts by which the power to tax is irretrievably conferred by individuals to government, which can then levy any tax it chooses. In the absence of an outside party enforcing contracts between members of a group, however, no arrangement within groups can be considered to be a binding contract, and therefore the power to tax must be sanctioned by individuals on an ongoing basis. In this Paper we offer, for the first time, a theoretical analysis of this fundamental compliance problem associated with taxation, obtaining predictions that in some cases point to a re-interpretation of the theoretical constructions of the public finance tradition while in others call them into question.

Suggested Citation

  • Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley, 2004. "Viable Taxation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4210, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
    2. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
    3. Hendricks, Ken & Judd, Ken & Kovenock, Dan, 1980. "A note on the core of the overlapping generations model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 95-97.
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    More about this item


    government; public goods; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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