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Essentials of Fiscal Sociology

Conception of an Encyclopedia


Edited By Jürgen G. Backhaus

The issue whether fiscal sociology is ripe for an encyclopedia is the hidden agenda of this project. The authors are international experts from the old and the new world, from Italy to Estonia, the Netherlands to Russia, and of course, the United States. The essays cover both, the history of fiscal sociology and recent and future issues, such as the making of the Estonian constitution, which emphasizes fiscal austerity, and the emerging European constitution.


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Fiscal Sociology And Public Choice Jürgen Backhaus


ABSTRACT In this paper, it is explained why fiscal sociology is gaining in importance again. The basic justifica- tion for fiscal sociology is provided by Pareto in his work on General Sociology. Samuelson in his efforts to establish the modern science of economics eliminated those aspects which he considered redundant. Yet, as the following example illustrates, fiscal sociological aspects matter. The 89 Rus- sian Republics have tremendous difficulty to introduce a Financial Constitution and raising taxes. To the people of these republics it is not obvious what they get back in return. Therefore, something else is required in addition to taxes. In short, what we need is trust. Trust can be gained through emphasizing civic values, exemplary civil service, or religion, an aspect that has been worked out by Robert V. Andelson. Introduction Recently and only after the turn of the century, we have been able to witness a remarkable resurgence in an area of research which had long been neglected. In fact, the area of fiscal sociology does not even have a code for its classification in the Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) system. In this essay, I briefly identify the recent literature and then try to explain its significance. In doing so, we have to begin with Paul A. Samuelson1 who tried to make much of received public finance irrelevant. This effort at reduction also included the field of fiscal sociology. This effort stood in sharp variance with Pareto’s project. Pareto2 had tried to overcome disciplinary confines in...

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