Marginal income tax rates in advanced industrial countries have fallen dramatically since the mid-1980s, but levels and progressivity of income taxation continue to differ strongly across countries. This study offers a new perspective on both observations. It blends theoretical inquiry with focused quantitative analysis and in-depth investigation of seven countries: Germany, Australia and New Zealand as well as Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Politics of Income Taxation highlights the equity-efficiency tradeoffs that structure the politics of income taxation, and analyses how income taxes are embedded in broader tax systems. It explains the limited but enduring importance of political parties and democratic institutions. Finally, the study paints a nuanced picture of the role of globalisation and thus sheds light on the pros and cons of tax coordination at European and international levels.
Tax policy is one of those areas which most political scientists would agree is in need of more attention than has been given hitherto but which nevertheless is mostly left unattended by the community. Steffen Ganghof’s new book on the politics of income taxation from the 1980s to the present day is therefore a very timely contribution, which is likely to create a great deal of interest because it sheds light on a complicated issue in an accessible and convincing way.
Steffen Ganghof is Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Previously he was Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. His research focuses on comparative political institutions and political economy, and his articles have appeared in scholarly journals such as The Australian Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Global Social Policy, Party Politics and the Swiss Political Science Review.