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Tax Politics in Eastern Europe: Globalization, Regional Integration, and the Democratic CompromiseHilary Appel 2011
—Yoshiko Herrera, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Post-Communist tax reform, like institutional reform in other areas of the post-Communist transition, holds tremendous material consequences for different groups in society. Consequently, one would expect the allocation of resources and the distribution of the financial burden of that allocation to be highly sensitive to domestic politics. Indeed the political stakes should be especially high since post-Communist tax reform requires not merely a simple adjustment at the margin, but the fundamental reallocation of the responsibility for government revenue. In Eastern Europe, however, important areas of tax policy do not reflect traditional domestic variables (e.g., interest groups and partisanship) so much as the international imperatives associated with regional and global economic integration.
In Tax Politics in Eastern Europe, Hilary Appel analyzes the domestic and international factors that drive tax policy. She begins with a review of the greatest challenges in the initial creation of the capitalist tax systems in former Communist states and then turns to the evolution of specific forms of taxation in order to gauge the relative impact of domestic politics on tax policy. Appel concludes that, although some tax areas, such as personal income taxes, remain politicized, most other taxes, such as corporate income taxes and all forms of consumption taxes, have been less subject to domestic political pressures because of powerful constraints resulting from regional and global economic integration.