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13 - Where's the Sex in Fiscal Sociology?: Taxation and Gender in Comparative Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2010

Isaac William Martin
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
Ajay K. Mehrotra
Affiliation:
Indiana University, Bloomington
Monica Prasad
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
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Summary

INTRODUCTION: BEYOND WAR

In a book on a subject as daunting as fiscal sociology, getting the word sex into the title of a chapter makes obvious marketing sense. Yet, in fact, something important is missing from the other chapters, each valuable and interesting in its own right.

The field of fiscal sociology, born in Schumpeter's stirring invocation of the “thunder of history” (Schumpeter [1918] 1991), has dwelt, as many of the other chapters show, mainly with how government tax (or “extraction,” in Charles Tilly's preferred word choice in Chapter 10) schemes interact with large-scale issues of war, crisis, state construction and destruction, and the like. These are important subjects, situated at the macro level of society. A closer and more detailed look at tax systems show that they have deep, persistent consequences on the micro level as well. Fiscal policies affect patterns of marriage, childbearing, work, savings, education, charity, home ownership, and more. Fiscal sociology is thus an essential element of cultural sociology. Social norms and biases are reflected in fiscal – tax and transfer – systems, and such systems, in turn, exercise coercive force, tending to entrench patterns of social life in an endless feedback loop, a point also emphasized in Beverly Moran's chapter. This is rich and important subject matter for multidisciplinary scholars to explore.

The taxation of households illustrates the point. Tax codes and other aspects of fiscal systems have often been explicitly sexist (Stotsky 1996; Teck 2004).

Type
Chapter
Information
The New Fiscal Sociology
Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective
, pp. 216 - 236
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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