ESRI Geary Lecture “Making and Breaking Tax Systems: The Institutional Foundations of Fiscal Capacity”

October 19, 2012 4:00PM - 5:00PM

Venue: ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2.

Professor Tim Besley, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

ABSTRACT: We have become accustomed to governments having the fiscal capacity to support revenue raising of more than 40% of GDP. But such levels of taxation were unheard of before the 20th century. This lecture will review some of the trends in taxation over the past one hundred years and how the tax systems were created which support the needs of modern governments. It will use this historical perspective to reflect on the challenges that need to be confronted in trying to build a centralized fiscal state in Europe.

A graduate of Oxford University, Professor Besley taught at Princeton University before being appointed Professor in the economics department at the LSE in 1995. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the British Academy.

Professor Besley served as the President of the European Economic Association (2010), is a past co-editor of the American Economic Review, and a winner of the Yrjö Jahnsson Award of the European Economics Association (2005). His research, is mainly in the areas of Development Economics, Public Economics and Political Economy. More ..

The Geary lecture is organised each year by the ESRI and honours Dr R. C. Geary (1896 –1983), the first Director of the Institute. Dr Geary is regarded as the most eminent Irish statistician of the twentieth century. Previous lectures have been given by some of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of economics, statistics and sociology, including a number of Nobel Prize winners.

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