Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shulman on the Oil Depletion Allowance and Scientific Taxation

Here's my candidate for best first sentence of the year: "Jimmy Stewart struck oil at 4,180 feet."  It appears in Peter A. Shulman's "The Making of a Tax Break: The Oil Depletion Allowance, Scientific Taxation, and Natural Resources Policy in the Early Twentieth Century," Journal of Policy History 23 (2011): 281-322.  JPH is gated, but I want to make sure that readers who don't usually scan the journal know of this terrific piece of work, written by an assistant professor of history (and MIT Ph.D.) who teaches at Case Western Reserve University.  No abstract, but here's the punchline:  "Values of efficiency trumped the promised fairness of science. . . .  Administrative simplicity trumped the technocratic wish."