A History of Taxation and Expenditure in the Western World

Webber, Carolyn and Aaron Wildavsky. A History of Taxation and Expenditure in the Western World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986.

“Throughout history, all governments, regardless of their form, have sustained themselves by controlling the purse. This exercise of the power to tax their citizens and allocate resources has resulted in a variety of revenue devices and spending practices. It has also caused problems such as deficits, tax inequities, and revolts, not unlike those faced by present-day governments. Webber and Wildavsky’s book is a comprehensive analysis of the various social systems of taxation and budgeting in ancient, medieval, and modern Europe. Their historical study also covers such hotly debated issues as budget balancing, welfare state, and governmental growth.”

– From the Library Journal.