The current international tax system diverges greatly from a theoretically 'optimal' tax system. One reason for this discrepancy may be that politicians strive for other objectives rather than making tax rules that comply with the theoretical concepts of optimal taxation. In this article, I overview the approaches used in the economic and legal literature to explain the motivations of policymakers involved in international taxation and contrast them with 'real world' observations. The article illustrates that the making of international tax policy is affected by verious factors: the structure of the international tax system, domestic pressure groups, along with self-interested politicians and bureaucrats. Considering the complexity of the conditions under which international tax policy is made, it is not astonishing that international tax law deviates significantly from the principles characterizing 'ideal' taxation.
Braun, Julia (2012), The discrepancy between 'ideal’ and 'real world’ international tax rules. What drives politicians when making the rules? , International Review of Social Sciences (Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali) 120(4), 371-398. Download