Tax Policy Research Guide
This research guide is designed to serve as a starting point for conducting research in tax policy analysis
Tax policy hinges largely on economics. This research guide is designed to serve as a starting point for conducting research in tax policy analysis. It will include both print and electronic resources available in the Georgetown Law Library. Additionally, links to think tanks and other policy research centers are included.
Members of the Georgetown University community may seek additional assistance at the reference desk or online.
To get an overview of tax policy, you may want to start your research by reading a Secondary Source. Here are a few books which could provide you with a starting point.
Tax Policy: Readings and Materials, KF6288 .O55 2011
Provides an overview of tax policy, including questions of when income should be taxed, progressive taxation, taxation of families, consumption taxes, and corporate taxation.
Tax policy lessons from the 2000s, HJ2381 .T378 2009
Consists of several economic analyses of various tax policies, including the impact of taxes on dividends and corporate financial policy, and the elasticity of taxable income (i.e., the effect of tax rate changes on tax revenues).
Public Finance and Public Policy, HJ141 .G78 2007
A look at public policy from the perspective of financing each agenda item. This book offers theoretical & empirical tools for public finance, as well as looking at multiple aspects of taxation and publically financed insurance.
Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise, H97 .R53 2004 (E-book)
This book investigates the interrelationship of public policy and external experts on policy - think tanks. The author defines think tanks as "independent, non-interest based, nonprofit organizations that produce and principally rely on expertise and ideas to obtain support and to influence the policymaking process." Extensive analysis of think tanks is presented through text, tables and figures.
Thinking Like a Policy Analyst: Policy Analysis as a Clinical Profession, H97 .T485 2005 (E-book)
The methodology and decision making of a policy analyst are discussed at length. Chapters on defining policy goals and the case study method for policy analysis are included.
- Tax Policy (keyword search)
- Taxation -- United States -- Econometric Models
- United States -- Economic Policy
- Economic Policy
- United States Politics and Government
This list of electronic resources includes databases of articles, Congressional document databases, and bibliographic indices to policy research papers.
- CQ Electronic Library - Provides access to and search capability across two Congressional Quarterly publications: CQ Researcher, and CQ Weekly.
- CQ Researcher - Publishes weekly reports covering the most current and controversial issues with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies and more. Includes all CQ Researcher reports published since 1991.
- CQ Weekly - Provides nonpartisan news and analysis on the United States Congress. The service includes access to the full text of all articles published since 1983.
- CQ.com on Congress - Georgetown Law Library subscribes to only Bill Text, Bill Compare, and Bill Track. Once you have pulled up a bill using the Bill Text feature, you will find links to the Bill Compare, and Bill Track. Current Congress only.
- ProQuest Congressional - Full text and indexing of U.S. Congressional documents, including hearings, committee reports, CRS reports, etc.
Other Government Documents
- Declassified Documents Reference System - U.S. - Full text searchable access to a selection of over 75,000 previously classified U.S. government documents. Post World War II documents include correspondence and memoranda, minutes of cabinet meetings, technical studies, national security policy statements, and intelligence reports. Most documents are at least 25 years old.
- Academic Search Premier - Provides full text for over 4,600 publications covering academic areas of study including social sciences, humanities, education, and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. Over 8,200 titles are abstracted and indexed, of which approximately 3,600 are peer-reviewed. Coverage: 1975 ‹ present. A Tutorial is available.
- JSTOR - This database includes the full text of the articles from hundreds of scholarly paper journals, most beginning with the first volume. Coverage often excludes articles from the most recent 1 to 3 years. PDF format. Searching is available across all bibliographic fields and in the full text.
- Proquest - Full collection of journals, magazines and newspapers on a broad range of general subjects. A Tutorial is available.
- Social Sciences Full Text - Indexes articles in all areas of the social sciences, from 350 English-language journals. Covers ethnic studies, economics, environment, geography, health, law and criminology, public administration, political science, psychology, sociology, urban studies and women's studies. 1983 - present.
Public Policy Materials
- PolicyFile: Public Policy Research and Analysis - Abstracts of data from public policy think tanks, university research programs and publishers, with coverage from 1990. Links to organizational home pages and to full text documents, where available.
- Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) International - Bibliographic index to the literature of public policy, social policy, and the social sciences in general. Journal articles; books; government documents; statistical compilations; committee reports; directories; serials; reports of public, intergovernmental, and private organizations; and most other forms of printed literature from all over the world are indexed.
Economics Working Papers
In addition to published papers in law- and non-law journals, you should also research economic "working papers." Working papers may still be present in these databases years after they are published in final form, so you should search other journal databases to be sure that you are citing to the final, published article. However, working papers are largely complete, and are made available for scholars' comments. Often times, working papers can have substantial influence on policy.
Databases containing economics working papers:
- Social Science Research Network (SSRN): The SSRN eLibrary consists of two parts: an Abstract Database containing abstracts of scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers and an Electronic Paper Collection containing downloadable full text documents in Adobe Acrobat pdf format.
- Economics Research Network (affiliated with SSRN)
- EconLit: EconLit is a comprehensive, indexed bibliography with selected abstracts of the world's economic literature, produced by the American Economic Association. It includes coverage of over 400 major journals as well as articles in collective volumes (essays, proceedings, etc.), books, book reviews, dissertations, and working papers licensed from the Cambridge University Press Abstracts of Working Papers in Economics. 1969 - present.
- National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER): Working papers covering topics in macro and microeconomics, labor economics and welfare economics. 1973 - present.
- Harvard Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business: A center at the Harvard School of Law dedicated to the study of law and economics. Has a repository of faculty discussion papers from 1983 - present, and fellows discussion papers from 2004 - present.
To do a comprehensive search of the journal literature on your topic, you must use journal indexes. The full-text journal databases on Lexis and Westlaw do not contain all of the law journals published, and, for those that are included, the starting date of coverage is rarely volume 1. The journal indexes, in contrast, include virtually all legal journals from volume 1 and, in the case of the Legal Resource Index, legal newspapers as well.
Here are links to the electronic versions of a few of the major law journals with an emphasis on tax law and policy issues. Print editions are available in the library as well.
- Tax Notes (Tax Analysts; published weekly)
- Florida Tax Review (University of Florida)
- Tax Law Review (NYU)
- The Tax Lawyer (ABA Tax Section, Georgetown)
- Virginia Tax Review (UVA)
- Tax Policy and the Economy (NBER)
Think Tanks and Research Centers
Public policy research and analysis is often the province of non-profit research organizations known as think tanks.
Tax-specific think tanks and policy centers include:
- Tax Policy Center (Urban Institute and Brookings Institution)
- American Tax Policy Institute
- Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
- Tax Foundation
- Archived materials & whitepapers (1937 - )
The annual report of Global Go-To Think Tanks identifies and ranks both U.S. and international research centers by subject areas. According to the Global Go-To Think Tanks report, the top think tanks on U.S. economic policy are:
- Brookings Institution
- National Bureau of Economics Research
- Cato Institute
- American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
- Peterson Institute for International Economics
- RAND Corporation
- Heritage Foundation
- Urban Institute
- Center for American Progress
- Hoover Institution
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Economic Policy Institute
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
- National Center for Public Policy Research
Public Opinions and Poll Data
Public opinion may influence those creating policy statements, so here are some sites which monitor public opinions and provide polling data.
Gallup Brain - searchable database of Gallup public opinion polls and articles about those polls. It covers over 136,000 questions, and responses from more than 3.5 million people interviewed by Gallup since 1935.
Roper Center for Public Opinion Research - The iPOLL databank offers access to nearly half a million survey questions and answers asked in the US by more than 150 survey organizations from the 1930's to the present.
Roper Center's Polling 101 - This site educates on the basics of polling; and it allows for basic and advanced public opinion searching.
For additional statistical research, consult our Statistical and Empirical Legal Research Guide.
House Ways & Means Committee - The Committee on Ways & Means is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. Currently, the Committee also maintains a separate website for the minority party's views.
Senate Finance Committee - The Senate Committee on Finance is the Senate committee concerned with taxation and other revenue measures.
Joint Committee on Taxation - The Joint Committee on Taxation is a non-partisan committee of the United States Congress. The staff of the Joint Committee assists Congressional tax-writing committees with the development and analysis of legislative proposals, prepares official revenue estimates of all tax legislation considered by Congress, drafts legislative histories for tax-related bills, and investigates various aspects of the Federal tax system. Their website contains numerous publications, including revenue-related analyses of the President's budget proposals, macroeconomic analyses of tax bills, and the annual "Blue Book": an explanation of each year's new tax legislation.
Congressional Budget Office - The charge of the CBO is to produce a cost benefit analysis of legislation introduced in Congress. This site includes background papers, economic analyses, cost benefit reports, and other analytical studies prepared by the CBO. The publications cover an extensive range of subject areas, including the environment, labor, homeland security, federal spending and much more. Special topics currently being covered include the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, climate change,and economic stimulus, among others.
Congressional Research Service - The CRS is a government "think tank" tasked with producing reports for members of Congress on all aspects of the government and current worldwide events. They do not make their reports public, but many of these reports are available through various websites and databases, such as ProQuest Congressional (Georgetown use only), OpenCRS, Federation of American Scientists and the U.S. Department of State.
Government Accountability Office - All unclassified reports produced by the GAO are available to the public. The entire range of government activities are reviewed by the GAO and these reports provide factual and thorough anaylsis of government projects. Older GAO reports are available on FDSys (1989- ) and Westlaw (GAO-RPTS, coverage begins in 1994).
The Internal Revenue Service - The IRS is a bureau of the Treasury Department. It administers, enforces, and supervises the execution and application of the internal revenue laws and collects taxes through administrative procedures. The IRS publishes a wide variety of statistics and data regarding taxpayers and taxes collected by the Statistics and Income Division. These data are organized by taxpayer type: businesses, individuals and estates, and non-profits and trusts; and by tax form. These data also concern the operations of the IRS itself, including tax collection by state and taxpayer compliance.
Treasury Department - The Treasury Department develops and impements tax policies and programs; provides the official estimates of all governments receipts for the President's budget, fiscal policy decisions, and Treasury cash management decisions; establishes policy criteria reflected in regulations and rulings and guides preparation of them with the Internal Revenue Service; and provides economic and legal policy analysis for domestic and international tax policy decisions. The Treasury's Tax Policy Resources webpage has papers from the Office of Tax Analysis (1974 - ) and tax policy documents, including annual reports to Congress on the Administration's revenue proposals ("The Green Book").
White House Council of Economic Advisers - The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. The Council bases its recommendations and analysis on economic research and empirical evidence. The website provides access to speeches, reports, and economics fact sheets published during the Obama administration.
National Economic Council - The National Economic Council (NEC) was established in 1993 to advise the President on U.S. and global economic policy. It resides within the Office of Policy Development and is part of the Executive Office of the President. The NEC's website has reports published during the Obama administration.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - The Federal Reserve's website has economic data, working papers on economics and finance, and historical financial data and statistics. Much of the raw economic data is downloadable in a variety of formats.
The following resources are not specifically on tax policy or economics, but may be useful to refer to for background or when brainstorming ideas for paper topics:
C-SPAN Video Library - Every C-SPAN program since 1987 is available and searchable in this extensive archive of the C-SPAN network, providing access to hours of policy debates and transcripts. Programs are indexed by very broad categories, loosely affiliated with policy.
Social Science Space - Public Debate & Policy is a hot topic on this resource designed as a workplace for social scientists to explore and shape the big issues. Hosted by Sage Publications, the current focus is the United Kingdom, but a more international scope is evolving.
What Matters - McKinsey Publishing identifies "tomorrow's trends" and features essay and debates on policy topics such as energy, the credit crisis, geopolitics and more.
Georgetown has a collection of Research Guides on many topics closely impacted by tax policy. These guides will identify the most relevant subject specific resources available for policy research. For example:
- Banking Law Research Guide
- Economics Research Guide
- Environmental Law Research Guide
- Health Law Research Guide
- Poverty Law Research Guide
- Public Policy Research Guide
- Securities Law Research Guide
- Tax Law Research Guide
Please also refer to the Lauinger Library's business & economics resources.
Feel free to consult our entire collection of Research Guides. Also, Georgetown Law students have access to many databases in Lauinger, our undergraduate library. Their collection of policy databases can be found here. Should you have any additional questions, please contact the Reference Department for assistance.
Created 07/11 (JZ)
Updated 10/14 (JZ)
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