Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue – Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages


#ZEWBookTalk with Joel Slemrod and Michael Keen

The event will take place digitally. Click here for the livestream (no registration required).

Note: 6 pm (CEST, Central European Summer Time) / 12 noon (EDT, Eastern Daylight Time)

Over the millennia, governments around the world have generated income by taxing of all sorts of things and circumstances: from windows, wallpaper to wigs, candles and childlessness, the right to a coat of arms and bachelorhood – it’s all there.

Professor Joel Slemrod and Michael Keen show that dealing with taxes is far from boring. In their latest book, “Rebellions, Rascals, and Revenue – Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages”, they take the reader on an entertaining journey through 4,000 years of tax history. Spanning from ancient to modern times, it is a surprising and one-of-a-kind account of how history illuminates the perennial challenges of taxation – and how the past holds clues to solving today’s tax problems. Raising taxes in an effective and at the same time reasonably ‘fair’ way is still the goal of democratic politics today.

What lessons from the past can help us solve tax problems today? The two leading tax analysts Professor Slemrod (University of Michigan) and Keen (International Monetary Fund), in exchange with ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach, also take a look at the prospects for taxation after the pandemic.

We would like to thank the ZEW – Sponsors’ Association for Science and Practice and MannheimTaxation Board for its support of the event.

You are welcome to submit your questions in advance to




Michael Keen // International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Similar content