This book examines the evolution of the relationship between taxpayers and their states in Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Romania, and asks why tax compliance is so much higher in some countries than others. The book shows that successful states have built strong administrative capacities, tax citizens fairly and equitably, and deliver public services that are tangible to taxpayers. The main substantive chapters explore the history of a particular country demonstrating how and why these capacities were developed (or not). The book is part of a larger project entitled "Willing to Pay?" which brings together historical institutional analysis with experimental methods. A series of articles as well as a subsequent book elaborate the specific findings from the experiments undertaken in each country. These experiments, however, cannot tell us why compliance behavior differs so much across societies. The Leap of Faith offers just such an explanation by showing the history of the relationship between taxpayers and their states over time in several countries, allowing an answer to the question: Why are some countries more successful at implementation than others? The book concludes with a policy-oriented chapter written specifically with tax and revenue administrators in the developing world in mind. Drawing on lessons from the historical chapters it is argued that effective administration and equitable distribution of both taxes and public spending are keys to generating taxpayer consent.
This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND). You can download The Leap of Faith ebook for free in PDF format (10.2 MB).
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Leap of Faith
Getting to Sweden: The Origins of High Compliance in the Swedish Tax State
Creating Tax-compliant Citizens in Sweden: The Role of Social Democracy
Tax Evasion in Italy: A God-given Right?
Explaining Italian Tax Compliance: A Historical Analysis
Creating Consent: Taxation, War, and Good Government in Britain, 1688-1914
'When We Were Just Giving Stuff Away Willy-Nilly': Historicizing Contemporary British Tax Morale
The Not-so-infernal Revenue Service? Tax Collection, Citizens and Compliance in the United States in the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries
Seeing Taxation in the Mid-Twentieth Century: U.S. Tax Compliance
Tax Collection without Consent: State Building in Romania
Willing to Pay? The Politics of Engendering Faith in the Post-communist Romanian Tax System
Taxation and Consent: Implications for Developing Nations