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Margarita Estévez-Abe, Jae-jin Yang and Christopher Faricy

This chapter looks at the electoral bases of tax politics. More specifically, it seeks to examine whether electoral systems and frequency of elections affect the levels of taxation. Methodologically, we adopt a mixed method strategy that combines statistical analysis with more descriptive qualitative case studies of three key cases—Japan, South Korea, and the United States. We found that the plurality electoral system and the frequency of national elections constrained governments’ abilities to raise tax revenue by introducing new taxes and raising tax rates. In short, these three small welfare states are similarly constrained in their tax capacities because of the way in which their elections take place.