Sexing Up Tax Administration

Joel Slemrod


The word administration does not set academics hearts aflutter, given that most of them expend not inconsiderable energy to avoid any administrative duties in their career.  Many people, from all walks of life, spend not inconsiderable time trying to avoid tax.  So it is with admirable courage that the editor and sponsors of this new journal will proceed. And with great social value.  Even those who strive to avoid taxes will admit it plays an important role in all countries.  I will argue in this essay that tax administration plays a crucial role in tax systems, one that academics would do well to heed.  I have struggled to come up with a name for this set of issues that is less inherently repellent, for a while using the term “tax implementation,” but that moniker holds barely more allure, and I am now resigned that the way forward is to make clear the importance of, and  intellectual merit, of tax administration, and not to come up with a sexier logo.

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