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Don't Tax You, Don't Tax Me, Tax the Fella behind the Tree: Partisan and Turnout Effects on Tax Policy

Michael D. Martinez
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 78, No. 4 (December 1997), pp. 895-906
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42863738
Page Count: 12
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Don't Tax You, Don't Tax Me, Tax the Fella behind the Tree: Partisan and Turnout Effects on Tax Policy
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Abstract

Objective. Although recent literature has shown substantial effects of party and lower-class mobilization on welfare and other policies, effects on tax policies have been weak and inconsistent. This research reexamines partisan and turnout effects on tax policy in states using a more appropriate measure of turnout. Methods. The research relies on regression analyses of a tax-progressivity measure used and reported by Morgan (1994). While previous analyses of tax progressivity have used only a presidential-level measure of turnout, this analysis relies on an averageturnout measure, based on elections for president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, and governor. Results. The effects of political variables (turnout, party, and party competition) on tax progressivity are clearer in models using an average-turnout measure. Conclusions. As with redistributive spending, tax policies that are more favorable to the lower socioeconomic classes exist in states in which parties are in serious competition with one another, in which the public responds to that competition with increased participation at the polls, and in which Democrats have an edge in the number of voters and in the number of elected officials.

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