Series on tax: Part 2b – let’s experiment with explanations

In the second part of my series on taxation I wrote about distortion and burden.  But I’m not sure whether my description about wedges and how people respond to prices was necessarily clear enough for a non-economist audience.  So I’m going to experiment with some other ways of articulating what I mean – ways that are equivalent, but for different people may be clearer.

Note:  I apologise in advance if this is a bit scattered – if you have questions or comments note them down in the comments, you’ll be doing me a favour 🙂

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Series on tax: Part 2 – distortions and burden

Over at Rates Blog I have put up part 2 or a 6 part series on tax (it was going to be 5 but I’ve extended it.  In part 1 we asked “why do we tax“.  In part 2 we are digging deeper into the costs of taxation.

We focus on two specific issues, the way taxes distort behaviour, and the idea of where the burden of tax falls.  As we explained in the first article these issues are really really difficult to actually work out – and the purpose of the second argument is just to give a “flavour” to the argument.  In honesty, if you wanted to figure out the true burden and distortions you’ll have to get yourselve a series of these CGE modeling economists armed with other economists who focus on normative judgments.

Last time I promised to discuss tax systmes that seem idea, that we don’t use.  And why we don’t.  Well, that is now the next article.

Also, thanks to Agnitio who helped me clear up this article.  It is a fairly wonkish one, and he came in at the last minute and helped me clarify what the hang I was doing 😉

Series on tax: Part 1 – why?

Huzzah, I am writing about tax on Rates Blog.  In Part 1 I ask “why do we tax“.

I get onto other issues later – in fact, this will be a five article series.  Here all I do is combine the idea of “government spending” and “paying for government spending”, and give a little wink to ideas such as equity and tax incidence.  They will play a more central role in the next article, when I discuss tax systems that seem ideal … but that we don’t use for often good reasons.