Northwestern University scholar Monica Prasad is the winner of the 2019 Zelizer Book Award given by the American Sociological Association’s Economic Sociology section for an outstanding book in the field. Prasad will receive the Award for her superb book Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution (Russell Sage, 2018) which detects the origins of the GOP’s relentless focus on tax cuts. Congratulations!
Since the early 1980s, Republicans have consistently championed tax cuts for individuals and businesses, regardless of whether the economy is booming or shrinking or whether the budget is in surplus or deficit. In this original book Prasad traces the history of the famous 1981 “supply side” tax cut, and argues that the main impetus behind it was not business pressure, racial animus, or a belief that tax cuts would pay for themselves.
Rather, the tax cut emerged because in the United States, unlike in the rest of the advanced industrial world, progressive policies are not embedded within a larger political economy that is favorable to business. Since the end of World War II, many European nations have combined strong social protections with policies to stimulate economic growth such as lower taxes on capital and less regulation on businesses than in the US. Meanwhile, the US emerged from World War II with high taxes on capital and some of the strongest regulations on business in the industrial world. This adversarial political economy, argues Prasad, could not survive the economic crisis of the 1970s. She suggests that taking inspiration from the European progressive policies embedded in market-promoting political economy could serve to build an American economy that works better for the many not the few.
This will be Monica’s second Zelizer award — she also won it in 2013 for her great book The Land of Too Much. Cheers!!
The past Zelizer Best Book Award recipients:
2018: Yuen Yuen Ang, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. Cornell University Press. 2016
2017: Marc Steinberg, England’s Great Transformation: Law, Labor, and the Industrial Revolution. University of Chicago Press. 2016
2016: Gabriel Abend, The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics. Princeton University Press. 2014
2016: Debbie Becher, Private Property and Public Power for Eminent Domain in Philadelphia. Oxford University Press. 2014
2015: Martin Reuf, Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South. Princeton University Press. 2014
2014: Ofer Sharone, Flawed System, Flawed Self: Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences. University of Chicago Press. 2013
2013: Lyn Spillman, Solidarity in Strategy: Making Business Meaningful in American Trade Associations. University of Chicago Press. 2012
2013: Monica Prasad, The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty. Harvard University Press. 2012
2012: Greta R. Krippner, Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance. Harvard University Press. 2012
2010: Terence G. Halliday and Bruce G. Carruthers, Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and Systemic Financial Crisis. Stanford University Press. 2009
2008: Donald MacKenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. MIT Press. 2006
2006: Olav Velthuis, Talking Prizes: Symbolic Meaning of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art. Princeton University Press. 2005
2006: James R. Lincoln and Michael L. Gerlach, Japan’s Network Economy: Structure, Presistence and Change. Cambridge University Press. 2004
2004: Harrison White, Markets from Networks Networks: Socioeconomic Models of Production. Princeton University Press. 2002
2004: Sarah Babb, Managing Mexico: Economists from Nationalism to Neoliberalism. Princeton University Press. 2001
2003: Neil Fligstein, The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies. Princeton University Press. 2002
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