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