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Redistributing toward the Rich: Strategic Policy Crafting in the Campaign to Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment, 1938–1958

  • Author(s): Martin, Isaac William
  • et al.

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Beginning in 1938, some American business groups campaigned to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and limit the federal taxation of income and wealth. Although their proposed upward-redistributive policy would benefit few voters, it won the support of 31 state legislatures. To explain this outcome, this article offers a theory of strategic policy crafting by advocacy groups. Such groups may succeed even in otherwise unfavorable institutional environments if they craft their proposals to fit the salient policy context. Archival evidence and event history analysis support this hypothesis. Public opinion also helps explain legislative support for upward-redistributive policy. © 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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