Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The New Historical Fiscal Sociology: An SSRC Fellowship

We have news of an SSRC fellowship, Public Finance and Society: The New Historical Fiscal Sociology.  It is open only to doctoral students based at universities within the United States.  The spring workshop dates are May 29-June 2, 2013 in Chaska, Minnesota; the fall worskhop dates are September 18-22, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The history of public finance is a story about change over time, a tale punctuated by wars, social movements, and revolutions. Yet much of the existing scholarly literature neglects the broader context that has given meaning to fiscal policies. The new historical fiscal sociology is an emerging interdisciplinary field that investigates the relationship between public finance and society. In doing so, it restores the importance of historical and social context to the study of taxation, public debt, and state spending. Scholars in this field pose broad historical and comparative questions about the origins and development of fiscal policies. They also ask about the consequences of these policies for political, social, and cultural life. Taxation is a central institution in modern society. Instead of asking how a particular tax law or policy affects prices and quantities in a particular market, we can also ask such consequential questions as these: How did a particular tax policy develop in the first place? How does the choice of fiscal policy affect notions of citizenship and social solidarity, and vice versa? What is the relationship between tax policy and cultural understandings of gender? How does sovereign debt affect the likelihood of regime stability? What are the cultural conditions that promote greater tax compliance and hence increased public trust in the state? What does taxation have to do with the development of democracy in particular times and places?
Field Directors:Ajay K. Mehrotra,  Professor, Indiana University Bloomington, Law and History; Isaac William Martin, Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego, Sociology.