Paul L. Caron
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today's Law, Society & Taxation Panels

Law & Society Today's Law, Society, and Taxation panels at the Law & Society Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco (abstracts of the papers are available here: click on "search the preliminary program," and then search by the presenter's name):

Comparative Issues in Global Taxation:  Each country in the world has its own system of taxation. The differences and similarities among the various national systems provide important insights into how different peoples have addressed issues of social equity, federalism, culture, and religion. Papers on this panel will discuss such issues in the context of policies and historical developments in Australia, China, and Germany. 

International Questions of Equity and Enforcement:  International tax law is dominated by two major concerns: the unique types of systemic abuse that are available to savvy parties who can game cross-border tax rules, and the effect of tax policies (and abuse of those policies) on the poorer nations of the world. Papers on this panel will discuss various aspects of enforcement rules and equitable implications of the international tax system. 

  • Charlene Luke (Florida) (Chair/Discussant)
  • Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky), The Taxation of Sovereign Wealth Funds: A Proposal for Change
  • Steven Dean (Brooklyn), Neither Rules Nor Standards
  • Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), A Critical Perspective on International Equity
  • Nan Kaufman (Saint Louis), Fairness and International Taxation Revisited
  • Diane Ring (Boston College), Backdoor Harmonization: The New Era of Tax Information Exchange

Voting, Elections, and Charities:  Charitable organizations enjoy a valuable legal status in the United States: being exempt from taxation. One of the conditions imposed on such organizations has been to exclude them from the electoral process -- essentially requiring that the recipients of such a valuable governmental benefit agree not to use their status (and their money) to engage in the political process itself. The prominent role such organizations played in November's election, however, makes undertaking both a positive and normative examination of the rules governing charities and electioneering an important undertaking.

U.S. Economic Experts and Fiscal Policy in Post-WWII Japan:  Throughout the twentieth century, U.S. economic and legal experts advised numerous redeveloping and lesser developed nation-states with their efforts in economic and political development. Many of these advisory missions included recommendations for fundamental fiscal reforms. One of the most historically significant post-WWII “tax missions” was the one led by Carl S. Shoup during the American occupation of Japan. The papers in this session explore the origins and impact of Carl Shoup’s ideas on post-war Japanese economy and society. The paper by Ajay Mehrotra examines the intellectual genealogy of Shoup’s commitment to a comprehensive income tax base. In his paper, Joseph Thorndike explains how Shoup’s work within the New Deal Treasury Department informed his interests in fundamental tax reform, and anticipated some of his Japanese proposals. The paper by Ryo Muramatsu and W. Elliot Brownlee analyzes some of the central aspects of the Shoup tax system, and how and why it unraveled soon after its implementation. Finally, Eisaku Ide in his paper investigates the adoption and long-run implications of a specific part of the Shoup proposals, the equalization grant system, and how the Japanese government was able to transform this proposal aimed at increasing local political and legal autonym into a tool for national fiscal centralization. The session as a whole, thus, explores the origins and legacy of one of the most dramatic, American-guided tax reform programs undertaken in a modern industrial nation during the twentieth century.

  • Robin Einhorn (UC-Berkeley) (Chair)
  • Eisaku Ide (Keio University), Local Financial Equalization in Japan and the Legacy of the Shoup Recommendations
  • Ajay Mehrotra (Indiana-Bloomington), From Seligman to Shoup: The Early Columbia School of Taxation and Development
  • Ryo Muramatsu (Keio University) & W. Elliot Brownlee (UC-Santa Barbara), Tax Reform in Japan and the Occupation: Why Comprehensive Income Taxation Failed to Take Root
  • Joseph Thorndike (Tax Analysts), Mr. Shoup Goes to Washington: Experts and Ideas in the Formulation of Depression-Era Tax Policy
  • Morinao Iju (University of Shizuoka) (Discussant)

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