Political (tax) Equity in a Global Context: Some Initial Reflections on How Individuals may Indirectly Influence Tax Legislation and Public Spending in Sweden, Germany and the U.S

Yvette Lind

Research output: Working paperResearch


Ongoing globalization and increased taxpayer mobility not only exacerbate already existing shortcomings when allocating taxing rights but also challenges formal citizenship as the basis for bestowing political rights and benefits as this practise instigates states to utilize citizenship as a tax incentive when attracting high-income earners, high-skilled workers and high-net value individuals. Challenging the traditional perception of formal citizenship as one may argue that this practise erodes its value and meaning in addition to highlighting the differentiation between individuals with reference to economic status.
At present time, mobile individuals may as a result of disparities between tax allocation, formal citizenship and voting privileges contribute financially to a state yet not have the possibility to exercise influence over their situation due to the lack of formal citizenship and voting privileges in said state. The group who may influence taxation and public spending through voting is therefore not always the same as those who pay taxes. This issue is naturally complex as the group of individuals excluded from such political influencing is a highly diverse group, reaching from high-net individuals to state-less persons seeking asylum, subject to individual circumstances and needs.
This paper separates itself from previous research within the tax scholarship as it does not focus on tax nexus or the right to participate in democratic influencing but rather on how individuals may influence tax legislation and public spending themselves other than through traditional voting. Tax rules and constitutionals safeguards offering taxpayer protection gathered from Sweden, Germany and the U.S. are introduced in order to describe and to what extent a taxpayer may exercise such influencing. The paper concludes that affluent individuals often have greater access to such legal instruments and subsequently indicates that political power is awarded to the few rather than the many. Arguing a present need to revise how political rights and benefits are allocated, both on a domestic level but also in the international context.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [wp]
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesCBS LAW Research Paper


  • Tax law
  • Politicial rights
  • Taxpayer mobility
  • Political equity
  • Comparative law

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