Hou publishes book on property tax in local economies 

Hou,-YilinYilin Hou, professor of public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School, has published a new book, Local Property Tax In China: History, Pilots and Prospects, that explores whether it is feasible to adopt the local property tax in transitional economies like China.  The book has been published simultaneously in English by Springer (New York) and in Chinese by Science Press (Beijing). 

Hou's pursuit of this topic began with an interest in carefully examining several issues that remain unsettled in the theory and empirics about property taxation.  He was able to take advantage of the "natural experiment" of China's financial reforms, via the perspective of institutional economics and political economy, to draw generic lessons that can serve as contributions to the theories of taxation, public finance, and governance.

This project started in 2011, financed by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Stanley W. Shelton Professor Fund at the University of Georgia, and the Graduate School of the University of Georgia.  The research was conducted with assistance from Dr. Qiang Ren, associate professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics (Beijing, China), then a visiting scholar under Hou's direction at the University of Georgia, and Dr. Ping Zhang, assistant professor at Fudan University (Shanghai, China), then a doctoral student under Hou's direction.  The book was finished in 2013 with financial support from the China Fiscal Development Center, Beijing, with Ren and Zhang as co-authors. 

Professor Hou has recently been granted funding, renewable for three years, from the China Fiscal Development Center to pursue the second stage of this project – to design a theoretically sound, administratively operable, and politically practical property tax system for local governments in China.  A research team has been set up at the Central University of Finance and Economics, China, to assist him.  The underlying goal of this second stage in terms of basic research is to thoroughly explore the mechanisms of tax incidence, land and structure taxation, progressivity, as well as local development and governance. 10/06/14