Despite its theoretical elegance, the standard optimal tax model has significant limitations. In this book, Joel Slemrod and Christian Gillitzer argue that tax analysis must move beyond the emphasis on optimal tax rates and bases to consider such aspects of taxation as administration, compliance, and remittance.
Slemrod and Gillitzer explore what they term a tax-systems approach, which takes tax evasion seriously; revisits the issue of remittance, or who writes the check to cover tax liability (employer or employee, retailer or consumer); incorporates administrative and compliance costs; recognizes a range of behavioral responses to tax rates; considers nonstandard instruments, including tax base breadth and enforcement effort; and acknowledges that tighter enforcement is sometimes a more socially desirable way to raise revenue than an increase in statutory tax rates. Policy makers, Slemrod and Gillitzer argue, would be well advised to recognize the interrelationship of tax rates, bases, enforcement, and administration, and acknowledge that tax policy is really tax-systems policy.
About the Authors
Joel Slemrod is Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan, where he is also Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research.
Christian Gillitzer is a graduate student of economics at the University of Michigan.
—Louis Kaplow, Finn M. W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard Law School
—James Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics, MIT, and President, National Bureau of Economic Research
—Michael Keen, Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund