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Of Rule and Revenue
Margaret Levi's wide-ranging theoretical and historical study demonstrates the importance of political relative to economic factors in accounting for revenue production policies.
Paperback, 264 pages
Published August 3rd 1989 by University of California Press
(first published January 1st 1988)
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Nov 03, 2014 Colin rated it really liked it
This book takes a fairly formal theoretical structure, although its case study histories on Roman use of tax farming and the comparative taxation experiences of Britain and France are quite interesting (the Australian case study on fiscal federalism and tax avoidance was, frankly, too dense for me to really engage with). The core theoretical argument is clear and I think fairly intuitive: state rulers seek to maximize revenues but are constrained in their choices by the transaction costs imposed ...more
Levi asserts that state is able to exert its strength through its ability to raise revenue from the civilian population. Though the state might rely on ideology or outright coercion, they two methods are unreliable and expensive respectively. Instead, the state must enforce a system of quasi-voluntary compliance, in which most people [a taxes voluntarily with only some punished for non-compliance. The system is based on credible commitment from the government (that it will spend its acquired rev ...more