The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics

Princeton University Press
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The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics presents a unified conceptual framework for analyzing taxation--the first to be systematically developed in several decades. An original treatment of the subject rather than a textbook synthesis, the book contains new analysis that generates novel results, including some that overturn long-standing conventional wisdom. This fresh approach should change thinking, research, and teaching for decades to come.

Building on the work of James Mirrlees, Anthony Atkinson and Joseph Stiglitz, and subsequent researchers, and in the spirit of classics by A. C. Pigou, William Vickrey, and Richard Musgrave, this book steps back from particular lines of inquiry to consider the field as a whole, including the relationships among different fiscal instruments. Louis Kaplow puts forward a framework that makes it possible to rigorously examine both distributive and distortionary effects of particular policies despite their complex interactions with others. To do so, various reforms--ranging from commodity or estate and gift taxation to regulation and public goods provision--are combined with a distributively offsetting adjustment to the income tax. The resulting distribution-neutral reform package holds much constant while leaving in play the distinctive effects of the policy instrument under consideration. By applying this common methodology to disparate subjects, The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics produces significant cross-fertilization and yields solutions to previously intractable problems.

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About the author

Louis Kaplow is the Finn M. W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics at Harvard, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published widely on the theory of taxation and public economics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 12, 2011
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Pages
496
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ISBN
9781400839223
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Business & Economics / Public Finance
Business & Economics / Taxation / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Louis Kaplow
Throughout the world, the rule against price fixing is competition law's most important and least controversial prohibition. Yet there is far less consensus than meets the eye on what constitutes price fixing, and prevalent understandings conflict with the teachings of oligopoly theory that supposedly underlie modern competition policy.

Competition Policy and Price Fixing provides the needed analytical foundation. It offers a fresh, in-depth exploration of competition law's horizontal agreement requirement, presents a systematic analysis of how best to address the problem of coordinated oligopolistic price elevation, and compares the resulting direct approach to the orthodox prohibition.

In doing so, Louis Kaplow elaborates the relevant benefits and costs of potential solutions, investigates how coordinated price elevation is best detected in light of the error costs associated with different types of proof, and examines appropriate sanctions. Existing literature devotes remarkably little attention to these key subjects and instead concerns itself with limiting penalties to certain sorts of interfirm communications. Challenging conventional wisdom, Kaplow shows how this circumscribed view is less well grounded in the statutes, principles, and precedents of competition law than is a more direct, functional proscription. More important, by comparison to the communications-based prohibition, he explains how the direct approach targets situations that involve both greater social harm and less risk of chilling desirable behavior--and is also easier to apply.

Martin Feldstein
The Field of Public Economics has been changing rapidly in recent years, and the sixteen chapters contained in this Handbook survey many of the new developments. As a field, Public Economics is defined by its objectives rather than its techniques and much of what is new is the application of modern methods of economic theory and econometrics to problems that have been addressed by economists for over two hundred years. More generally, the discussion of public finance issues also involves elements of political science, finance and philosophy. These connections are evidence in several of the chapters that follow.

Public Economics is the positive and normative study of government's effect on the economy. We attempt to explain why government behaves as it does, how its behavior influences the behavior of private firms and households, and what the welfare effects of such changes in behavior are. Following Musgrave (1959) one may imagine three purposes for government intervention in the economy: allocation, when market failure causes the private outcome to be Pareto inefficient, distribution, when the private market outcome leaves some individuals with unacceptably low shares in the fruits of the economy, and stabilization, when the private market outcome leaves some of the economy's resources underutilized. The recent trend in economic research has tended to emphasize the character of stabilization problems as problems of allocation in the labor market. The effects that government intervention can have on the allocation and distribution of an economy's resources are described in terms of efficiency and incidence effects. These are the primary measures used to evaluate the welfare effects of government policy.
Louis Kaplow
Throughout the world, the rule against price fixing is competition law's most important and least controversial prohibition. Yet there is far less consensus than meets the eye on what constitutes price fixing, and prevalent understandings conflict with the teachings of oligopoly theory that supposedly underlie modern competition policy.

Competition Policy and Price Fixing provides the needed analytical foundation. It offers a fresh, in-depth exploration of competition law's horizontal agreement requirement, presents a systematic analysis of how best to address the problem of coordinated oligopolistic price elevation, and compares the resulting direct approach to the orthodox prohibition.

In doing so, Louis Kaplow elaborates the relevant benefits and costs of potential solutions, investigates how coordinated price elevation is best detected in light of the error costs associated with different types of proof, and examines appropriate sanctions. Existing literature devotes remarkably little attention to these key subjects and instead concerns itself with limiting penalties to certain sorts of interfirm communications. Challenging conventional wisdom, Kaplow shows how this circumscribed view is less well grounded in the statutes, principles, and precedents of competition law than is a more direct, functional proscription. More important, by comparison to the communications-based prohibition, he explains how the direct approach targets situations that involve both greater social harm and less risk of chilling desirable behavior--and is also easier to apply.

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