Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 1 No. 1 (Summer 1987)


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Tax Reform as Political Choice

Article Citation

Buchanan, James M. 1987. "Tax Reform as Political Choice." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1(1): 29-35.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.1.1.29


Public choice theory explains and interprets politics as the interaction among constituents and agents seeking to advance or to express their own interests. Applied to an observed political event like the 1986 tax reform legislation, any such analysis must identify the effects on separate interests and make some presumption concerning the perception of these effects. The linkage between assigning gains and losses from the 1986 tax changes and explaining these changes depends critically on the model of political choice. Political reality presumably embodies some mix of models of consensus, conflict, and agents' discretion. These three models are examined separately, with features from each retaining some explanatory value.

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Buchanan, James M. (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

323: National Taxation, Revenue, and Subsidies
025: Social Choice Studies: Voting, Committees, etc.


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