Old George Orwell Got It Backward: Some Thoughts on Behavioral Tax Economics

27 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2009

See all articles by Joel B. Slemrod

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2009

Abstract

It is entirely appropriate that the study of public finance take seriously "behavioral" inconsistencies with traditional models of individual and collective decision-making. This raises the question of whether the state should play a role in protecting individuals from themselves, and whether individuals are susceptible to manipulation, or even exploitation, by the people who comprise the state. In this essay I address one aspect of this issue - how it affects an economic analysis of tax systems. In addressing this task I ask, and offer some tentative answers to, what is distinctive about behavioral tax economics as a sub-field of behavioral economics and as a sub-field of tax economics.

Keywords: complexity, compliance

JEL Classification: H20, H27

Suggested Citation

Slemrod, Joel B., Old George Orwell Got It Backward: Some Thoughts on Behavioral Tax Economics (September 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476210 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1476210

Joel B. Slemrod (Contact Author)

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

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