Global Taxation: How Modern Taxes Conquered the World

Editors: Philipp Genschel and Laura Seelkopf

Global Taxation investigates the global transition to modern taxation from the 18th century to today. Modern taxation refers to the broad-based tax instruments that allowed for the emergence of big government as we know it today, including, most prominently, income taxes and general consumption taxes. The volume draws on a new historical dataset of tax introduction worldwide to map the global spread of modern taxes descriptively and to explore its correlates analytically. It makes four contributions to the literature. First, it corrects a pervasive Western bias in historical political economy and fiscal sociology. Most of this literature focuses heavily on the tax policy of advanced democracies in Europe. The chapters of this volume explore how far Western theories and insights travel to non-Western contexts. Second, the volume mitigates a recency bias in much of the macro-quantitative literature in comparative political economy and public finance. The chapters investigate whether insights travel across time from recent to more distant periods of observation. Third, the volume compensates for the substantive preoccupation of extant research with the personal income tax and the VAT by extending the analysis to other important tax instruments: the corporate income tax, the inheritance tax, non-VAT sales taxes, and social security contributions. Finally, the volume goes beyond the prevalent methodological nationalism in fiscal sociology and comparative political economy. It shows that non-sovereign tax introductions were common in colonial and imperial settings and compares analytically how the logic of these non-sovereign introductions differed from sovereign ones.

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