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Hardcover | $49.00 Text | £33.95 | ISBN: 9780262042475 | 568 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 5 figures, 20 tables| April 2008

Essential Info

Fundamental Tax Reform

Issues, Choices, and Implications


Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics. Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third). In Fundamental Tax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown—or unknowable.

The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effects of tax reforms on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics.

Rosanne Altshuler, Alan J. Auerbach, John W. Diamond, Harry Grubert, Arnold C. Harberger, Kevin A. Hassett, Thomas J. Kniesner, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Edward J. McCaffery, Kathryn Newmark, David Rapson, Daniel Shaviro, Joel Slemrod, James P. Ziliak, George R. Zodrow.

James Alm, Henry J. Aaron, Charles L. Ballard, Leonard E. Burman, Robert S. Chirinko, Robert D. Dietz, Malcolm Gillis, Roger H. Gordon, Jane G. Gravelle, Timothy S. Gunning, James M. Poterba, Thomas S. Neubig, Alan Viard, George Yin.

About the Editors

John W. Diamond is Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

George R. Zodrow is Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair of Economics and Rice Scholar, Baker Institute for Public Policy, at Rice University.


"Diamond and Zodrow have produced a timely book on fundamental tax reformthat avoids revisiting old and tired issues, appeals to a broadpolicy-oriented audience, and draws leading scholars to comment onreform-related issues."
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for InternationalEconomics

"This book is required reading for anyone undertaking—or evenconsidering—fundamental tax reform. The authors and discussants of thepapers take a fresh look at important issues that many thought weresettled."
Charles McLure, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Hoover Institution, StanfordUniversity

"Expiring tax provisions, concern over the alternative minimum tax, andglobal competition in business taxation imply that major tax reform in theUnited States will be on the agenda for the next president. But whichreform? This book tackles tough questions regarding the effects of tax reform onbusiness investment, asset prices, and U.S. competitiveness; it will beessential reading for economists writing on tax reform and for policyadvisors."
R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean, Columbia School of Business


Winning entry, Professional Cover/Jacket Category, in the 2009 New England Book Show sponsored by Bookbuilders of Boston.