Taxation, evolutionary economics and tax populations

Valentine P. Vishnevsky, Aleksandr V. Gurnak


The article applies an evolutionary approach to the study of taxation which, in contrast to neoclassical economics and institutionalism, is focused on the long-term perspective and population determinants of the tax system development. This approach is an element of a new - evolutionary - tax paradigm. The pivotal idea of this paradigm is the idea of tax populations, whose habitats may fall beyond the state borders, as the latter are historically contingent and often unite people who belong to different genetic and socio-cultural communities. The article presents an empirical and logical investigation of the main tax population. Empirical results are based on the use of the clustering method for the sample including 117 countries. As shown by the undertaken analysis, there are, indeed, groups of countries in the world relatively homogeneous in selected indicators that can be interpreted as some supranational model of tax systems. The clusters obtained, along with a logical analysis of the social and economic development of different countries of the world, allowed us to identify and describe the core features of the main tax populations which are the European, the Chinese-East Asian, The Maghrebi-Middle Eastern, and the Indian-South Asian tax populations. The concept of main tax populations proposes a new methodological base for tax policy and tax reform activity. This does not mean that the neoclassical recommendations on tax policy and reforms are unimportant in principle, but they must be used primarily as a means of streamlining the tax system within the tax population with regard to its specific context, subject to evolutionary problems of population growth, not as universal recipes for all occasions.


taxation; methodology; evolutionary economics; institution; tax population; tax system; tax policy; tax reform

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