Professor Francesco Forte’s contributions to Fiscal Sociology

Thursday, 17 March 2016: 9:30 AM
Ursula Backhaus, Ph.D. , Economics, Institute for Social Science and Forethought, Erfurt, Germany
Gordon L. Brady, Ph.D. , Economics, University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
The objective of this paper is to explore Professor Forte’s contribution to the development and growth of the specialized field of Fiscal Sociology.  From 2001 to 2013, the annual conference on Fiscal Sociology took place on the Friday before the beginning of the winter semester in the city castle of Rudolstadt (Thuringia).  The meeting was organized by Professor Jürgen Backhaus, Krupp Chair of Finance and Fiscal Sociology at Erfurt University (2001 to 2015).  Professor Francesco Forte was a regular participant, presented numerous papers, and added much to the meetings through his commentary, wit, and questions. 

            My presentation “Professor Forte's influence on fiscal sociology” is a useful starting point for the session in that it focuses on one area of his many contributions to set the tone for further discussion and to provide background information on the breadth of Professor Forte’s work.  The time allows only a short summary of three of Professor Forte’s major papers presented at the annual Rudolstadt conference on Fiscal Sociology. His papers were very important in focusing attention on Fiscal Sociology as a new sub-discipline.  His work influenced the discussions by participants at the conference and their research programs.  Professor Forte’s participation in the conference and intellectual guidance served to chart new paths for research for the profession and discipline of Fiscal Sociology.  Professor Forte built on fiscal theory to apply his insights based on many years as an academic economist, politician, and major policy commentator.  This paper highlights the contributions to fiscal sociology made by Professor Forte and his co-authors to fiscal sociology

            My paper focuses on Pareto’s sociological theory of elites, fiscal illusion, and the failure of European planning for less developed regions. They helped to give shape to a field, which does not have a code for its classification in the Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) system.  The papers covered in my presentation include:

  • "The Sociological Theory of Fiscal Illusion and the Laffer Curve. Reflections on an Italian Case."
  • "The Pareto Sociological Theory of the Elites and the Italian Parliament."
  • "On the Failure of European Planning for less Developed Regions - The Case of Calabria."