Thursday, September 09, 2010

Swinging for the fences

My book in progress concerning U.S. international taxation, tentatively called "Fixing the U.S. International Tax Rules," is starting to come out pretty assertive regarding how I feel I am changing and advancing the prevailing analysis. This can be risky, because people don't want to hear such claims and may be inclined to resist them, but I feel it's justified.

In Decoding the U.S. Corporate Tax, by contrast, I made no such claim, nor could I have. "Decoding" tried to explain and critically evaluate a rich preexisting literature, but without adding as much that was intellectually new, beyond a sense of the broader context and several dollops of intellectual arbitrage.

Two differences: the underlying academic literature in corporate taxation is much richer than that in international taxation, and I hadn't thought as deeply about the corporate tax issues. That book's motivation was largely pedagogic, indeed born of my frustration when teaching corporate issues in tax policy classes and finding that there was no suitable reading accessibly addressing the issues that I considered most interesting and important. This time, by contrast, more is accessible but the field (in my view) remains intellectually in a far more primitive state.

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