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The impact of experts on tax policy in post-war Britain and Sweden

Andersson, Per F. LU (2017) In Acta Oeconomica 67. p.79-96
Abstract

During the decades after World War II, countries began shifting taxation from income to consumption. This shift has been associated with an expanding welfare state and left-wing dominance. However, the pattern is far from uniform and while some left-wing governments indeed expanded consumption taxation, others did not. This paper seeks to explain why, by exploring how experts influenced post-war tax policy in Britain and Sweden. Experts influence is crucial when explaining how the left began to see consumption tax not as a threat but as an opportunity. Interestingly, the influence of experts such as Nicholas Kaldor in Britain was different from the impact of Swedish experts (e.g. Gösta Rehn). I make the argument that the impact of... (More)

During the decades after World War II, countries began shifting taxation from income to consumption. This shift has been associated with an expanding welfare state and left-wing dominance. However, the pattern is far from uniform and while some left-wing governments indeed expanded consumption taxation, others did not. This paper seeks to explain why, by exploring how experts influenced post-war tax policy in Britain and Sweden. Experts influence is crucial when explaining how the left began to see consumption tax not as a threat but as an opportunity. Interestingly, the influence of experts such as Nicholas Kaldor in Britain was different from the impact of Swedish experts (e.g. Gösta Rehn). I make the argument that the impact of expert advice is contingent on the political risks facing governments. The low risks facing the Swedish Left made it more amenable to the advantages of broad-based sales taxes, while the high-risk environment in Britain made Labour reject these ideas.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Economic history, Expert influence, Political economy, Taxation
in
Acta Oeconomica
volume
67
pages
18 pages
publisher
Akademiai Kiado
external identifiers
  • scopus:85030327728
  • wos:000410432800007
ISSN
0001-6373
DOI
10.1556/032.2017.67.S.7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3cb283f7-d823-499d-aa31-408458d14a41
date added to LUP
2017-10-16 13:17:42
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:23:17
@article{3cb283f7-d823-499d-aa31-408458d14a41,
  abstract     = {<p>During the decades after World War II, countries began shifting taxation from income to consumption. This shift has been associated with an expanding welfare state and left-wing dominance. However, the pattern is far from uniform and while some left-wing governments indeed expanded consumption taxation, others did not. This paper seeks to explain why, by exploring how experts influenced post-war tax policy in Britain and Sweden. Experts influence is crucial when explaining how the left began to see consumption tax not as a threat but as an opportunity. Interestingly, the influence of experts such as Nicholas Kaldor in Britain was different from the impact of Swedish experts (e.g. Gösta Rehn). I make the argument that the impact of expert advice is contingent on the political risks facing governments. The low risks facing the Swedish Left made it more amenable to the advantages of broad-based sales taxes, while the high-risk environment in Britain made Labour reject these ideas.</p>},
  author       = {Andersson, Per F.},
  issn         = {0001-6373},
  keyword      = {Economic history,Expert influence,Political economy,Taxation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  pages        = {79--96},
  publisher    = {Akademiai Kiado},
  series       = {Acta Oeconomica},
  title        = {The impact of experts on tax policy in post-war Britain and Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/032.2017.67.S.7},
  volume       = {67},
  year         = {2017},
}