Political Discourses of Business and Capital Taxation. A Comparative Network Analysis of Tax Policy-Focused Media and Parliamentary Debates in the U.S. and Germany, 1965-2015

Project: Dissertation project

Project participants


The distribution of income and wealth is back on the scientific agenda due to growing inequality. Constraints of economic competition remain alarming since scandals like ‘Panama papers’ or ‘Lux-Leaks’ reveal the mechanism of offshore-pricing and tax evasion by multinational corporations and specialized tax professionals. What accounts for the renewed political attempts for comprehensive business and capital tax reforms in OECD countries? Given the several rounds of reforms seen earlier since the late 1970s, the question arises why there is still the desire to lower top statutory tax rates. This dissertation projects aims for contributing to the vast literature on tax competition and public policy-making. It combines insights of policy research and agenda setting with the toolkit of formal network analysis. While focusing on the tax policy discourse in major media outlets and parliamentary committees, the following question will be addressed: Under what conditions does the media coverage of business and capital taxation increases the likelihood of tax reform in OECD countries? Cases are the United States and Germany, thus two countries with varying modes of production and taxation and institutional framework, but converging trends in the taxation of business and capital income. The projects successively tries to document the actor participation in media and parliamentary debates, thus the probable actors and their claims for and against tax reform. The descriptive results will lay the ground for further empirical considerations via inferential network analysis.
The thesis is linked to research on political networks and market concentration and will strongly focus on the currently undertaken efforts to implement the OECD base erosion and profit shifting-programme



Research outputs