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Grant number like: FA-52614-06

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Ajay Kumar Mehrotra
Trustees of Indiana University (Bloomington, IN 47405-7000)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2006 – 5/31/2007

Law, Politics, and the Making of the Modern American Fiscal State

At the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. system of public finance underwent a dramatic transformation. The late 19th century system of indirect taxes, associated mainly with the tariff, was eclipsed in the early decades of the 20th century by a progressive income tax. My project examines how and why this transformation was possible. In contrast to conventional accounts, which generally explain the rise of the income tax as simply a structural-functionalist response to the growing revenue demands of the public sector, or as a conservative ruse to forestall more radical calls for wealth redistribution, I contend that the income tax had its sources in social concerns about justice, fairness and the equitable distribution of fiscal burdens.