Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Department of Economics, Rikkyo University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 1998
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, Economics, Shimonoseki City University
The Politics of the Income Tax in Postwar Japan: A Historical Institutionalist Approach

My proposal is to research and write a book on the political history of the Japanese income-tax regime. The focus will be the years from 1940, when income taxes became the fiscal pillar of the Japanese state, to the contemporary period's continuing retreat from the historic postwar role of income taxation. This proposal is grounded in Joseph Schumpeter's classic observation that, more strongly than other public polices, fiscal choices reveal the essential character of state and society, but then go on to reshape the latter. Hence, through an historical institutionalist approach, I will analyze the role of income taxation in the larger context of political institutions, the overall fiscal state, societal actors, and the international dimension. This work will not be rigorously comparative, in the sense of systematically comparing selected aspects of several cases; but it will draw heavily on the record of fiscal politics elsewhere, and particularly the Anglo-American countries, in order to situate the Japanese case in the larger context of the wartime rise and contemporary decline of the advanced industrial societies' income tax-centered fiscal regimes.