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Taxing reforms: the complex dynamic of tax policy change in Australia, Japan, Canada and the United States


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Eccleston, RG (2007) Taxing reforms: the complex dynamic of tax policy change in Australia, Japan, Canada and the United States. In: What is policy change? Workshop at Governing by Looking Back Conference, 12-14 December 2007, Australian National University. (Unpublished)

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Tax policy is highly contested and proposals for policy change invariably meet fierce political
resistance. Given these constraints conventional explanations of tax reform have followed a punctuated
equilibrium model in which periodic economic and political crises result in rapid policy change among
protracted periods of relative stability. This paper challenges the stability versus change dualism
implicit in such and accounts and, using recent consumption tax reforms in Australia, Canada, Japan
and the Unites States as a reference, argues that the dynamics of tax policy change are more complex.
The paper argues that while exogenous shocks central to historical institutionalist theories of policy
change influence the timing of reform proposals, they provide few insights into direction and
magnitude of policy change. To this end it necessary to focus on the micro level and nature of societal
resistance to policy change and the role of policy entrepreneurs in this process.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2009 03:16
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:54
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