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Professor Genschel's Details

Research and current research projects

Philipp Genschel is engaged in a series of research projects centring on three interrelated themes: (1) the internationalization of taxation, (2) the European integration of core functions of national sovereignty ("core state powers) and (3) indirect governance in domestic and international politics.

(1) The internationalization of taxation

Taxation is an exclusive province of the nation state. No entity beyond the state has taxing power. Yet, national tax policy choices are shaped by various international factors. On the one hand, intergovernmental treaties and organizations regulate the ways and means of national taxation. Here my main interest is in the causes and consequences of international (non-)agreement. For instance, in a recent paper with Thomas Rixen, we traced how international agreements on double tax avoidance from the 1920s and 1930s shaped the rise of international tax competition since the 1960s, and constrained the political opportunity space for international agreements to reign in the competition. On the other hand, national taxation is shaped by the cross-border mobility of tax bases such as, most prominently, real, financial and human capital. Here my main interest is in the dynamics and consequences of tax competition. In a recent paper with Hanna Lierse and Laura Seelkopf, we investigated the dynamics of tax competition when competing countries vary in regime type. We are also interested in the influence of tax competition on inequality within and across states, and on the party politics of taxation.  Currently, I am preparing a long-term project with Laura Seelkopf on the "Comparative Political Economy of Taxation". The aim is to map and explain fundamental differences in the structures and developmental pathways of national tax systems for a global sample of western and Non-Western states since the 19th century. We received a grant from the EUI's Research Council for 2016/17 to start collecting a comparative tax data set on which the project will be based.

See also:

Dictators don't compete: autocracy, democracy and tax competition

Did they learn to tax? Taxation trends outside the OECD

Accelerating downhill: How the EU shapes corporate tax competition in the Single Market

Tax competition: A literature review

Tax Competition and Fiscal Democracy

The Competition State

Happy taxation. Increasing tax compliance by positive rewards?



(2) The European Integration of core state powers.

While the EU is mostly associated with market integration, it has greatly expanded into the integration of core state powers since the 1990s. In a recent book co-edited by Markus Jachtenfuchs, we investigated the patterns of integration in defence affairs, fiscal policy and public administration and compared them to market integration on the one hand and to integration processes in federal systems on the other.  Similar to market integration the integration of core state powers proceeds mostly by regulation: national powers are subjected to European disciplines rather than transferred to the European level. In contrast, to market integration, however, the demand for integration comes less from private market actors and more often from inside the state apparatus. The contrasts to the federal experience are even more pronounced. While in federal states, the centralization of core state powers was associated with a significant consolidation and empowerment of the federal government, the European integration of these powers is associated with fragmentation and paralysis. The EU level hardly gained any additional resources. The EU budget remained largely unaffected by the EU’s expansion into defence, foreign policy, and fiscal affairs. Territorial and institutional fragmentation increased. Differentiated integration was largely invented for core state powers. And decision-making on core state powers was allocated to a sprawling complex of new bodies rather than the existing institutional machinery of the Community method. 

See also:

How the European Union constrains the state

More integration, less Federation: the European integration of core state powers

(3) Indirect governance in domestic and international politics

Most governance is indirect carried out through intermediaries. Governors do not govern targets directly but bring in third parties to increase efficiency, effectiveness or legitimacy.  Sometimes these third parties are “internal” to the governor, as in the case of government bureaucracies, but often they are “external”, operating at some distance from the governor such as independent regulatory agencies, business associations, transnational NGOs or International Organizations. The standard approach to understanding indirect governance is the principal-agent model of delegation: a principal authorizes an agent to act on its behalf and reserves the right to rescind the agent’s authority in case of ineffectiveness or misconduct. Yet, governors often lack the hard control the principal-agent model supposes. In a recent book, co-edited by Ken Abbott, Duncan Snidal and Bernhard Zangl, we analyze how international organizations increase their effectiveness and independence by enlisting and ‘orchestrating’ the essentially voluntary assistance of intermediary actors (NGOs, transgovernmental networks, other International Organizations, etc.). In the future we want to build on this work to develop a more general theory of indirect governance that conceptualizes different types (delegation, orchestration, trusteeship, and cooptation) and theorizes the conditions and consequences of their application. See also:

Two logics of indirect governance

State transformations in OECD countries

Juncker's Curse? Identity, interest and Public Support for the Integration of Core State Powers


Seminars and workshops

Page last updated on 03 February 2020

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