Dr. Gabriel Ondetti has researched taxation history from an unconventional lens.
Instead of approaching the topic from an economic standpoint, the Missouri State University political science professor analyzes the taxation history of Latin American countries through the changes in their political landscape.
“A lot of people find taxation boring because it can be highly technical,” said Ondetti, who also directs the Master of International Affairs program at MSU. “But it’s a political process. You can understand many other things about a country by studying taxation.”
An adverse domino effect
His central research question: Why do some countries tax their citizens more heavily than others?
Using a qualitative and comparative historical method, Ondetti found that countries with lower tax rates were more likely to have threatened private property on large scales.
Lower tax rates also allude to less public funding, creating a “paradox.”
“If you’re a political scientist, you can’t really ignore taxation,” Ondetti said. “Whatever the government does, they have to have money to do it.”