Gendered Power Over Taxes and Budgets

Authored by: Åsa Gunnarsson

The Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409418597
eBook ISBN: 9781315612973
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043423


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Revenue-raising systems and public budgets shape almost every aspect of economic and cultural life. The power to raise and spend public revenues remains fundamentally associated with the nation state (Levi 1989, Lahey 2011), but the fiscal systems and welfare regimes in welfare economies are also challenged by a world of unstable, mobile and integrated markets (Philipps et al. 2011). While no clear consensus has emerged about what the ideal revenue system looks like, major international financial and development organizations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have increasingly promoted more competitive fiscal environments under the overall objective of stimulating economic growth. This promotion takes the form, for example, of encouraging investment, risk-taking, entrepreneurship and an increased incentive to take on paid work. The dominant ideology of tax design that has been promoted by these international organizations is to reduce the degree of progressivity in tax systems, reduce total revenues, and shift some of the tax burden from income tax to consumption taxation (Piper and Murphy 2005, Owens 2006, Lahey 2011). As men in general have higher incomes from paid work, and own more wealth both as capital assets and business shares, they also benefit more from this type of tax design.

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