Paul L. Caron

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emory Conference: Critical Perspectives on Tax Policy

Emory Logo The two day conference on Critical Perspectives on Tax Policy concludes today at Emory. Here are the presenters and their papers:
  • Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), Polygamy and Tax:Married Filing Jointly (and Severally?)
  • Bridget Crawford (Pace), Wealth, Inequality and Democracy
  • Karie Davis-Nozemack (Georgia Tech), Collision Course: EITC and the Rise of IRS Correspondence Examinations
  • Devin Fergus (CUNY, Hunter College), Reagan’s Tax-eaters: College Students and the Origins of Today’s Student Debt Crisis
  • David Herzig (Valparaiso), A Call For Action: DOMA and the Internal Revenue Service
  • Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh), A Critical Perspective on International Equity
  • Carolyn Jones (Iowa), Taxation as a Means of Reaching the Kingdom of God
  • Nancy Knauer (Temple), Critical Tax Theory: Earning a Place at the Table
  • Marjorie Kornhauser (Arizona State), Taxing Bachelors
  • Lynn Lu (NYU), Beyond Watchdogs, Whistleblowers, and Scapegoats: Pushing the Limits of Social Justice Reform through Tax Exemption for Public Charities
  • Ajay Mehrotra (Indiana-Bloomington), The Old Fiscal Order: Trouble with Tariffs and the Faltering Property Tax
  • Reginald Mombrun (North Carolina Central), Shifting the Paradigm by Bringing Tax Arbitrage to the Lower Income Separated Family: Why Should the Middle To Upper Class Family Have All the Fun?
  • Lisa Philipps (Osgoode Hall), Canada Revenue as Social Service Agency? Equality Issues in the Administration of Tax-Delivered Benefits
  • John Scott (North Carolina), The Problem of Private Pensions: Risk, Institutions, and Politics in the Hidden Welfare State
  • Andre Smith (Widener), Taxes and the Demise of White Supremacy in the United States
  • Palma Strand (Creighton), Give the Kids a Break: Using Tax Policy to Support Care for Children
  • Camille Walsh (Indiana-Bloomington), Racial Consciousness and "Taxpayer Citizenship" in 20th Century School Funding Debates
  • Sarah Webber (Dayton), Earned Income Tax Alternatives: A Comparative Look at Other Developed Nations’ Response to Working Poor Assistance

Update: Bridget Crawford blogs the conference here, here, and here.

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Critical tax started out as an inspiring movement with a lot to say. Unfortunately, it has degenerated into its own narrow ideology. Papers like this provide comfort to people who already agree with them, but their rather slavish political correctness, and (in most cases) lack of intellectual rigor, suggest that their real world influence is limited.

Posted by: mike livingston | Sep 17, 2011 5:22:21 AM

I don't think critical means what Emory thinks it means.

Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2011 1:08:02 PM

Are the papers available online anywhere?

Posted by: Reader | Sep 17, 2011 1:31:33 PM

Andre Smith (Widener), Taxes and the Demise of White Supremacy in the United States"

Unbelievable. This should add support for ending tenure.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 17, 2011 8:20:17 PM


I would hesitate to make blanket allegations of "slavish political correctness" and "lack of intellectual rigor" of any group. Scholars on all sides of today's political divides vary on these axes. Some are open-minded. Some are methodologically careful. Others are not.

Today, "Critical tax" in a conference title means simply "classical microeconomics does not explain everything." The classical microeconomic paradigm is dominant in the tax academy, particularly at the top of the prestige hierarchy. "Critical tax" venues offer authors who wish to explore other paradigms or challenge the dominant one an opportunity to do so without being booed off the stage merely by reason of their approach.

I write sometimes on one side of the line, sometimes on the other. In my view, both are valuable.


Posted by: Theodore Seto | Sep 18, 2011 10:44:17 AM

I ignore anyone who uses the word "paradigm" in slobbery edu-talk.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 18, 2011 6:37:36 PM

To complain, as Michael Livingston does, about the "lack of intellectual rigor" and then to explain the internal psychological motivations of people who may or may not have read the articles, without having even read the articles is the irony of all ironies. You might as well began your comment with "don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are ____________" instead of the self-soothing patronage used (yes, I am judging your psychological motivation, but then again, I have read your comment).

Posted by: Darryll Jones | Sep 19, 2011 9:25:23 AM