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Taxes as Pandemic Controls

Ashley C. Craig and James R. Hines Jr.

Abstract:

Tax policy can play important roles in limiting the spread of communicable disease and in managing the economic fallout of a pandemic. Taxes on business activities that bring workers or customers into close contact with each other offer efficient alternatives to broad regulatory measures, such as shutdowns, that have been effective but enormously costly. Corrective taxation also helps raise the revenue required to cover elevated government expenditure during a pandemic. Moreover, the restricted consumer choice that accompanies a pandemic reduces the welfare cost of raising tax revenue from higher-income taxpayers, making it a good time for deficit closure. Current U.S. tax measures serve some of these functions, but additional measures could further limit the spread of disease while also addressing government budget deficits.

Citation

Ashley C. Craig and James R. Hines Jr. (2020), Taxes as Pandemic Controls , National Tax Journal, 73:4, pp. 969-986

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2020.4.02