Tax policy and tax protest in 20 rich democracies, 1980–2010

Isaac William Martin, Nadav Gabay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Why are some policies protested more than others? New data on protest against eight categories of taxation in twenty rich democracies from 1980 to 2010 reveal that economically and socially concentrated taxes are protested most, whereas taxes that confer entitlement to benefits are protested least. Other features of policy design often thought to affect the salience or visibility of costs are unimportant for explaining the frequency of protest. These findings overturn a folk theory that political sociology has inherited from classical political economy; clarify the conditions under which policy threats provoke protest; and shed light on how welfare states persist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-669
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • fiscal sociology
  • protest events
  • taxation
  • welfare state


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