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The positive theory of benefit taxation in the italian school of public finance

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  • Paolo Liberati
  • Massimo Paradiso

Abstract

This paper addresses the historical evolution of benefit-based taxation, with particular reference to the contribution of the Italian school of public finance. In particular, it is shown that the positive interpretation of the benefit theory as a criterion of rationality and judgment is well established in the Italian tradition of public finance. Indeed, the practice of taxation as interpreted by Italian scholars reflects more the outcome of a political bargaining, rather than the consistent application of any normative principle as in the contribution by Lindahl (1919). Under this perspective, the benefit theory may help the functioning of a system of democratic finance, in order to avoid large deviations of the level of taxation from its natural path. Thus, the concept remains of a fundamental role played by the benefit principle in its positive guise as a base for judgments and control of the action of governments.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Liberati & Massimo Paradiso, 2014. "The positive theory of benefit taxation in the italian school of public finance," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0190, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtr:wpaper:0190
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    File URL: http://dipeco.uniroma3.it/db/docs/WP%20190.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Musgrave, R.A., 1985. "A brief history of fiscal doctrine," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 1-59 Elsevier.
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    Keywords

    Benefit theory; Italian public finance; Taxation.;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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