The Most-Cited Tax Articles of All Time

by Jonathan H. Choi — Saturday, May 11, 2019

Summer is nearly here, and for fellow tax nerds in need of beach reads, I’ve assembled a list of the 50 most widely cited tax law journal articles. The list is inspired by (and uses the same methodology as) Fred Shapiro and Michelle Pearse’s essay, The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time.

The list below is ordered by number of citations in other law review articles, according to HeinOnline. For comparison, I also list Google Scholar citation counts, which include cites by certain non-law journals, practice publications, books, and courts. The correlation between the two lists is strong but not perfect—for the statistically minded, R2 = 0.7472.

This methodology advantages older articles, which have had more time to accrue citations. To account for this, I’ve created a separate list of the most-cited tax articles of the past twenty years, further below.

 

Most-cited tax articles of all time

Article HeinOnline Article Cites Google Scholar Cites
1. William D. Andrews, A Consumption-Type or Cash Flow Personal Income Tax, 87 Harv. L. Rev. 1113 (1974) 437 783
2. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, Why the Legal System Is Less Efficient than the Income Tax in Redistributing Income, 23 J. Legal Stud. 667 (1994) 305 687
3. Boris I. Bittker, A Comprehensive Tax Base as a Goal of Income Tax Reform, 80 Harv. L. Rev. 925 (1967) 298 464
4. Boris I. Bittker, Federal Income Taxation and the Family, 27 Stan. L. Rev. 1389 (1975) 284 438
5. Joseph Bankman & Thomas Griffith, Social Welfare and the Rate Structure: A New Look at Progressive Taxation, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 1905 (1987) 227 352
6. Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Globalization, Tax Competition, and the Fiscal Crisis of the Welfare State, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 1573 (2000) 226 748
7. William T. Plumb, Jr., The Federal Income Tax Significance of Corporate Debt: A Critical Analysis and a Proposal, 26 Tax L. Rev. 369 (1971) 208 355
8. Walter J. Blum & Harry Kalven, Jr., The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation, 19 U. Chi. L. Rev. 417 (1952) 200 418
9. Peter D. Enrich, Saving the States from Themselves: Commerce Clause Constraints on State Tax Incentives for Business, 110 Harv. L. Rev. 377 (1996) 193 371
10. Michael J. Graetz, To Praise the Estate Tax, Not to Bury It, 93 Yale L.J. 259 (1983) 185 264
11. Erwin N. Griswold, The Need for a Court of Tax Appeals, 57 Harv. L. Rev. 1153 (1944) 185 240
12. Mark G. Kelman, Personal Deductions Revisited: Why They Fit Poorly in an Ideal Income Tax and Why They Fit Worse in a Far from Ideal World, 31 Stan. L. Rev. 831 (1979) 177 248
13. Daniel I. Halperin, Interest in Disguise: Taxing the Time Value of Money, 95 Yale L.J. 506 (1986) 168 259
14. Joseph T. Sneed, The Criteria of Federal Income Tax Policy, 17 Stan. L. Rev. 567 (1965) 164 211
15. Michael J. Graetz & Michael M. O’Hear, The “Original Intent” of U.S. International Taxation, 46 Duke L.J. 1021 (1997) 162 345
16. Eric A. Posner, Law and Social Norms: The Case of Tax Compliance, 86 Va. L. Rev. 1781 (2000) 155 403
17. David A. Weisbach & Jacob Nussim, The Integration of Tax and Spending Programs, 113 Yale L.J. 955 (2004) 150 245
18. Marjorie E. Kornhauser, The Rhetoric of the Anti-Progressive Income Tax Movement: A Typical Male Reaction, 86 Mich. L. Rev. 465 (1987) 146 214
19. R.A. Musgrave, In Defense of an Income Concept, 81 Harv. L. Rev. 44 (1967) 140 228
20. Marjorie E. Kornhauser, Love, Money, and the IRS: Family, Income-Sharing, and the Joint Income Tax Return, 45 Hastings L.J. 63 (1993) 139 216
21. Paul L. Caron, Tax Myopia, or Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Tax Lawyers, 13 Va. Tax Rev. 517 (1994) 137 155
22. Richard L. Doernberg & Fred S. McChesney, On the Accelerating Rate and Decreasing Durability of Tax Reform, 71 Minn. L. Rev. 913 (1987) 136 183
23. Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, The Structure of International Taxation: A Proposal for Simplification, 74 Tex. L. Rev. 1301 (1996) 129 285
24. Anne L. Alstott, Tax Policy and Feminism: Competing Goals and Institutional Choices, 96 Colum. L. Rev. 2001 (1996) 129 192
25. Stanley S. Surrey, Federal Taxation of the Family—The Revenue Act of 1948, 61 Harv. L. Rev. 1097 (1948) 127 218
26. David A. Weisbach, Line Drawing Doctrine and Efficiency in the Tax Law, 84 Cornell L. Rev. 1627 (1998) 126 221
27. Edward A. Zelinsky, Efficiency and Income Taxes: The Rehabilitation of Tax Incentives, 64 Tex. L. Rev. 973 (1986) 123 152
28. Stanley S. Surrey, The Congress and the Tax Lobbyist—How Special Tax Provisions Get Enacted, 70 Harv. L. Rev. 1145 (1957) 122 217
29. Stanley S. Surrey, Definitional Problems in Capital Gains Taxation, 69 Harv. L. Rev. 985 (1956) 121 220
30. Kristin E. Hickman, The Need for Mead: Rejecting Tax Exceptionalism in Judicial Deference, 90 Minn. L. Rev. 1537 (2006) 121 180
31. Mark P. Gergen, The Case for a Charitable Contributions Deduction, 74 Va. L. Rev. 1393 (1988) 120 189
32. Lily L. Batchelder, Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. & Peter R. Orszag, Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Tax Credits, 59 Stan. L. Rev. 23 (2006) 120 230
33. Randolph E. Paul, Dobson v. Commissioner: The Strange Ways of Law and Fact, 57 Harv. L. Rev. 753 (1944) 119 158
34. David Slawson, Taxing as Ordinary Income the Appreciation of Publicly Held Stock, 76 Yale L.J. 623 (1967) 119 152
35. Edward A. Zelinsky, James Madison and Public Choice at Gucci Gulch: A Procedural Defense of Tax Expenditures and Tax Institutions, 102 Yale L.J. 1165 (1993) 119 171
36. Bruce Ackerman, Taxation and the Constitution, 99 Colum. L. Rev. 1 (1999) 113 203
37. Pamela B. Gann, Abandoning Marital Status as a Factor in Allocating Income Tax Burdens, 59 Tex. L. Rev. 1 (1980) 112 171
38. Boris I. Bittker, Churches, Taxes and the Constitution, 78 Yale L.J. 1285 (1969) 110 166
39. Walter Hellerstein & Dan T. Coenen, Commerce Clause Restraints on State Business Development Incentives, 81 Cornell L. Rev. 789 (1995) 109 185
40. Leandra Lederman, The Interplay Between Norms and Enforcement in Tax Compliance, 64 Ohio St. L.J. 1453 (2003) 108 235
41. David M. Schizer, Frictions as a Constraint on Tax Planning, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 1312 (2001) 108 166
42. David P. Hariton, Sorting out the Tangle of Economic Substance, 52 Tax Law. 235 (1999) 106 148
43. David A. Weisbach, Ten Truths About Tax Shelters, 55 Tax L. Rev. 215 (2002) 105 336
44. Marvin A. Chirelstein, Learned Hand’s Contribution to the Law of Tax Avoidance, 77 Yale L.J. 440 (1968) 105 174
45. Joseph Bankman, The Economic Substance Doctrine, 74 S. Cal. L. Rev. 5 (2000) 103 181
46. Boris I. Bittker, Charitable Contributions: Tax Deductions or Matching Grants, 28 Tax L. Rev. 37 (1972) 103 185
47. Dan Shaviro, An Economic and Political Look at Federalism in Taxation, 90 Mich. L. Rev. 895 (1992) 103 179
48. Victor Fleischer, Two and Twenty: Taxing Partnership Profits in Private Equity Funds, 83 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (2008) 102 214
49. Beverly I. Moran & William Whitford, A Black Critique of the Internal Revenue Code, 1996 Wis. L. Rev. 751 (1996) 102 171
50. Joseph Bankman & David A. Weisbach, The Superiority of an Ideal Consumption Tax over an Ideal Income Tax, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 1413 (2006) 101 196

 

Most-cited tax articles since 2000

Article HeinOnline Article Cites Google Scholar Cites
1. Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Globalization, Tax Competition, and the Fiscal Crisis of the Welfare State, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 1573 (2000) 226 748
2. Eric A. Posner, Law and Social Norms: The Case of Tax Compliance, 86 Va. L. Rev. 1781 (2000) 155 403
3. David A. Weisbach & Jacob Nussim, The Integration of Tax and Spending Programs, 113 Yale L.J. 955 (2004) 150 245
4. Kristin E. Hickman, The Need for Mead: Rejecting Tax Exceptionalism in Judicial Deference, 90 Minn. L. Rev. 1537 (2006) 121 180
5. Lily L. Batchelder, Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. & Peter R. Orszag, Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Tax Credits, 59 Stan. L. Rev. 23 (2006) 120 230
6. Leandra Lederman, The Interplay Between Norms and Enforcement in Tax Compliance, 64 Ohio St. L.J. 1453 (2003) 108 235
7. David M. Schizer, Frictions as a Constraint on Tax Planning, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 1312 (2001) 108 166
8. David A. Weisbach, Ten Truths About Tax Shelters, 55 Tax L. Rev. 215 (2002) 105 336
9. Joseph Bankman, The Economic Substance Doctrine, 74 S. Cal. L. Rev. 5 (2000) 103 181
10. Victor Fleischer, Two and Twenty: Taxing Partnership Profits in Private Equity Funds, 83 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (2008) 102 214
11. Joseph Bankman & David A. Weisbach, The Superiority of an Ideal Consumption Tax over an Ideal Income Tax, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 1413 (2006) 101 196

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About Jonathan H. Choi

Jonathan H. Choi is a Fellow at NYU Law School's Classical Liberal Institute. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the South Carolina Law Review, among others. Find more information at www.JonathanHChoi.com.

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