The Fiscal Sociology of Interventionist Democracy
CHAPTER 6 The Elemental Factors of Fiscal Policy 171
171 CHAPTER 6 The Elemental Factors of Fiscal Policy Even though certain institutional movements such as decentralization and federalism moderate the analysis, the sovereign power of the tax State remains a reality. Since its regalian origins (cf. chapter 4), the tax State, having become interventionist, remains at the centre of choices, in spite of the fragmentation of the financial system (chapter 5). As is illustrated by the rule of the member countries’ unanimity regarding the tax decisions of the European Union, its legal competence in this do- main leads to keep the term of public policy. The legitimate authority is in many cases the State. Ideas, groups and partisan preference which characterize society influence tax policy through an intermediate varia- ble: the conception of public policy. This societal dimension completes the institutional shaping of the interventionist public action which, without being centered on the State, admits a real autonomy of the State. Specialists generally favour one or two particular factors. For exam- ple, Wildavsky (1985) develops a theory of budgetary cultures which are connected with the explanations from the role of ideas. Institutions and ideas are considered by Steinmo (2003), while Eisenstein (1961) privileges the combination of interest groups (or classes) with ideolo- gies. Campbell (1993), considering crises as a cause for change, also emphasizes interest groups that determine the real content of tax policy. Neo-Marxists (O’ Connor, 1973) analyze the crisis of the tax State within the framework of social classes. Korpi and Palme (2003) associ- ate classes and...
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