If you start out with a story, you must think it to its conclusion.Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1962, p. 95)
There is much more that should be said, but certainly not on this occasion. When I started this, I knew, from experience, that I'd never finish it. Life seems to consist of “unfinished business.”Frank Knight (1950, p. 281)
Doing research in economics, as in other social sciences, differs from the writing of a good story or play. Successful work in both fields starts with an initial premise, but the economist, unlike the playwright, will rarely reach a final cathartic conclusion. To use Frank Knight's phrase, there is simply too much “unfinished business.” In fact, one may want to go farther than Knight and claim that good research, like life, consists of unfinished business.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
Like other large research undertakings, this book presents new insights and also leaves significant areas to be explored. In order to provide an overall perspective, it is useful to describe briefly what, in our view, has been achieved in the preceding chapters. The book presents a new approach to the study of taxation that integrates collective choice with economic analysis and views fiscal policies as equilibrium outcomes. The resulting framework allows us to treat a wide range of issues in a unified manner. Moreover, the analysis is based on a collective choice model that allows exploration of multidimensional issues in an equilibrium setting.