Fiscal protest in thirteen welfare states

Published on Jan 1, 2013in Socio-economic Review
· DOI :10.1093/ser/mws014
Isaac William Martin11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego),
Nadav Gabay2
Estimated H-index: 2
(BIU: Bar-Ilan University)
Why does the fiscal burden of the welfare state inspire more protest in some so-cieties than others? Quantitative analysis of fiscal protest in 13 European coun-tries from 1980 to 1995, combined with in-depth comparative-historicalanalysis of selected countries, shows that fiscal protest was most prevalentwhere there was a poor fit between tax policy and social spending commitments.Policy incoherence produced pressure for fiscal reforms, which in turn provokedprotest.The findings areconsistent with the theory that the choice of appropriatetax instruments may help to explain why welfare states persist. They also implythat scholars should not conflate tax protest with welfare backlash, nor assumethat tax protest in welfare states is aligned with neoliberal interests.Keywords:deficit,fiscalprotest,fiscalburden,socialspending,welfarebacklash,neoliberalismJEL classification: H20 taxation, subsidies, and revenue, H60 national budget,deficit, and debt
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