Thaddeus Hwong

School of Administrative Studies
School of Public Policy and Administration

Associate Professor
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash University, Australia
Research Associate, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Office: Atkinson College, 268
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext: 20537
Emailthwong@yorku.ca
Secondary websitewww.twitter.com/policyquests

Think about the state of our world. Think about the cliches: money is the mother's milk in politics; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; the winners take it all. Does it have to be this way? With trepidation and humility, I explore the fiscal policy possibilities for the financing of a more just world for all.

More...

I aspire to make creative use of our collective understanding of tax law and policy to argue for redistributive design in public policy responses to challenges arising from income and wealth inequalities. Through my very modest pursuit of a deeper understanding of redistribution, I strive to advance our knowledge of who we are as a society and who we aspire to be as a people.

Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I still hope we will at least try to solve some of the political, economic and social problems we face by doing the right thing. If we don't want our lives to be dominated by those with enormous market power, and if we don't want to be held hostage in a grim subsistence in which those who are less lucky are left behind, we would need to fight for more progressivity in our tax system with more resolve.

Redistribution is not only about societal resources but also about power and influence. The affluence who reap the most benefits from our society should pay for what the society has given them. Public policy making should not be of the affluence, for the affluence and by the affluence. With more redistribution, genuine shared governance of our democracy could have a fighting chance, and a better tomorrow may be in sight.

As my very modest attempt to make a contribution to public discourse, I conduct empirical research on the battle of ideas policy advocates wage on the costs and benefits of taxation, the political commitment people are willing to make to level the playing field between the Haves and Have-nots and the policy options citizens can consider to hold the plutocrats, the oligarchs and the rest of the power elite accountable to democratic ideals.

Area of Specialization

Tax law and policy

Degrees

PhD, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
MS, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University
BA, Economics, York University


Research Interests

Politics of Redistribution: the use of progressive income taxation & public expenditures as instruments for social & economic policies to reduce income, wealth & political inequalities in pursuit of shared prosperity in civil society, especially in the context of US, Canada & other high-income OECD countries

Current Research Projects

Costs and Benefits of Taxation

Summary: 
Comparison of social and economic policy outcomes between high-tax and low-tax countries.

Description: 
Exploration of cross-country data.
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professor Emeritus Neil Brooks
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigator

Redistribution in Civil Society

Summary: 
Quests to advance redistributive policies in upside-down world where bombastic stupidity won & basic decency lost.

Description: 
Online experiments.
Role: Principal investigator

Transfer pricing in China and India

Summary: 
Analysis of tax norm transplantation to China and India from the West in the context of transfer pricing.


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professor Jinyan Li
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigator

Anti-Tax Avoidance Doctrines And General Anti-Tax-Avoidance Rules: Theory And Empirical Evidence

Summary: 
Comparative analysis of anti-tax avoidance laws and judicial decision making in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professors Tim Edgar and Jinyan Li
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigators

All Publications

Book Chapters

(2013) Tax Levels, Tax Mixes and Income Redistribution in Canada and Selected OECD Countries Since Carter. In Kim Brooks (Ed.) The Quest for Tax Reform Continues: The Royal Commission on Taxation Fifty Years Later. Toronto: Carswell.

(2011) The Distributional Effects of Making Personal Income Tax Credits Refundable. In Lisa Philipps, Neil Brooks, and Jinyan Li (Eds.), Tax Expenditures: State of the Art. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation.

Journal Articles

With Li, Jinyan. (2013) . GAAR in Action: An Empirical Exploration of Tax Court of Canada Cases (1997-2009) and Judicial Decision Making. Canadian Tax Journal, 61(2), 321-366.

With Brooks, Neil. (2010) . Tax Ratios, Tax Mixes, and Tax Reforms: Convergence and Persistence.Theoretical Inquires in Law, 11(2), 791-821.

(2009) . A Quantitative Exploration of Judicial Decision Making in Supreme Court of Canada in Income Tax Cases in 1920-2003. Manitoba Law Journal, 33(1), 150-196.

With Hanlon, Dean. (2008) . The Effect of External Advisors on the GST Compliance Costs of Businesses in Australia.Asia-Pacific Journal of Taxation, 12(2), 93-108.

(2004) . A Review of Quantitative Studies of Decision Making in the Supreme Court of Canada. Manitoba Law Journal, 30(3), 353-382.

Professional Journal Articles

With Mellor, Peter, & Krever, Richard. (2012) . Tax Treaty Trends in Central Asian Former Soviet Nations. Bulletin for International Taxation, 66 (10), 541-552.

(2009, March 2) . How Canada's Flat Tax Debate Played in the Press: A Case Study. Tax Notes International, 767-775.

Research Reports

With Brooks, Neil. (2006) . The Social Benefits and Economic Costs of Taxation: A Comparison of High- and Low-tax Countries. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2006/Benefits_and_Costs_of_Taxation.pdf.

Approach To Teaching

Maybe I am not realistic, but I still believe education is supposed to enlighten, not to indoctrinate to conform. Tackling our myopia of false necessity is a starting point to make the world better for all. Questioning the status quo is our responsibility, and asking ourselves whether we can do better for all of us is our obligation. Does it have to be this way? What do we want to do about it? What could we do about it given what we know?

Realistically, raising that line of questions is subversive even in our publicly funded classrooms. In our society, many see university studies only as a vending machine for diplomas so presumably university graduates can go get a job rather than as a catalyst for lifelong learning so thoughtfully university graduates can design their professional and personal lives. Students face mounting pressure for individual "success," often in terms of money, from everywhere. As a result, some students do whatever it takes to try to get "good" grades, pretending to be who they are not even at the expense of hurting their integrity and justifying their actions by telling themselves others are acting just the same.

Coping with the grim reality, I try to hang onto the glimmer of hope that education can change lives for the better for all. If students want, education can change their lives, empowering them to become part of the solutions rather than part of the problems in our society. If students want, they can learn to realize their potential in university studies. But even if students do not want to learn much from coursework, they could still learn to think not just about their own well-being but also about the well-being of others in university studies.

Caring begins with understanding, and with that then not all is lost.

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2017 AP/HREQ3761 3.0  Canada's Social Policy LECT  
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/PPAS4130 6.0  Politics, Law and the Courts SEMR  


Think about the state of our world. Think about the cliches: money is the mother's milk in politics; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; the winners take it all. Does it have to be this way? With trepidation and humility, I explore the fiscal policy possibilities for the financing of a more just world for all.


I aspire to make creative use of our collective understanding of tax law and policy to argue for redistributive design in public policy responses to challenges arising from income and wealth inequalities. Through my very modest pursuit of a deeper understanding of redistribution, I strive to advance our knowledge of who we are as a society and who we aspire to be as a people.

Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I still hope we will at least try to solve some of the political, economic and social problems we face by doing the right thing. If we don't want our lives to be dominated by those with enormous market power, and if we don't want to be held hostage in a grim subsistence in which those who are less lucky are left behind, we would need to fight for more progressivity in our tax system with more resolve.

Redistribution is not only about societal resources but also about power and influence. The affluence who reap the most benefits from our society should pay for what the society has given them. Public policy making should not be of the affluence, for the affluence and by the affluence. With more redistribution, genuine shared governance of our democracy could have a fighting chance, and a better tomorrow may be in sight.

As my very modest attempt to make a contribution to public discourse, I conduct empirical research on the battle of ideas policy advocates wage on the costs and benefits of taxation, the political commitment people are willing to make to level the playing field between the Haves and Have-nots and the policy options citizens can consider to hold the plutocrats, the oligarchs and the rest of the power elite accountable to democratic ideals.

Area of Specialization

Tax law and policy

Degrees

PhD, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
MS, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University
BA, Economics, York University

Research Interests:

Politics of Redistribution: the use of progressive income taxation & public expenditures as instruments for social & economic policies to reduce income, wealth & political inequalities in pursuit of shared prosperity in civil society, especially in the context of US, Canada & other high-income OECD countries

Current Research Projects

Costs and Benefits of Taxation

Summary: 
Comparison of social and economic policy outcomes between high-tax and low-tax countries.

Description: 
Exploration of cross-country data.
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professor Emeritus Neil Brooks
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigator

Redistribution in Civil Society

Summary: 
Quests to advance redistributive policies in upside-down world where bombastic stupidity won & basic decency lost.

Description: 
Online experiments.
Role: Principal investigator

Transfer pricing in China and India

Summary: 
Analysis of tax norm transplantation to China and India from the West in the context of transfer pricing.


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professor Jinyan Li
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigator

Anti-Tax Avoidance Doctrines And General Anti-Tax-Avoidance Rules: Theory And Empirical Evidence

Summary: 
Comparative analysis of anti-tax avoidance laws and judicial decision making in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-investigator

Collaborator: Professors Tim Edgar and Jinyan Li
Collaborator Institution: Osgoode Hall Law School
Collaborator Role: Principal investigators

All Publications

Book Chapters

(2013) Tax Levels, Tax Mixes and Income Redistribution in Canada and Selected OECD Countries Since Carter. In Kim Brooks (Ed.) The Quest for Tax Reform Continues: The Royal Commission on Taxation Fifty Years Later. Toronto: Carswell.

(2011) The Distributional Effects of Making Personal Income Tax Credits Refundable. In Lisa Philipps, Neil Brooks, and Jinyan Li (Eds.), Tax Expenditures: State of the Art. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation.

Journal Articles

With Li, Jinyan. (2013) . GAAR in Action: An Empirical Exploration of Tax Court of Canada Cases (1997-2009) and Judicial Decision Making. Canadian Tax Journal, 61(2), 321-366.

With Brooks, Neil. (2010) . Tax Ratios, Tax Mixes, and Tax Reforms: Convergence and Persistence.Theoretical Inquires in Law, 11(2), 791-821.

(2009) . A Quantitative Exploration of Judicial Decision Making in Supreme Court of Canada in Income Tax Cases in 1920-2003. Manitoba Law Journal, 33(1), 150-196.

With Hanlon, Dean. (2008) . The Effect of External Advisors on the GST Compliance Costs of Businesses in Australia.Asia-Pacific Journal of Taxation, 12(2), 93-108.

(2004) . A Review of Quantitative Studies of Decision Making in the Supreme Court of Canada. Manitoba Law Journal, 30(3), 353-382.

Professional Journal Articles

With Mellor, Peter, & Krever, Richard. (2012) . Tax Treaty Trends in Central Asian Former Soviet Nations. Bulletin for International Taxation, 66 (10), 541-552.

(2009, March 2) . How Canada's Flat Tax Debate Played in the Press: A Case Study. Tax Notes International, 767-775.

Research Reports

With Brooks, Neil. (2006) . The Social Benefits and Economic Costs of Taxation: A Comparison of High- and Low-tax Countries. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2006/Benefits_and_Costs_of_Taxation.pdf.


Teaching:

Approach To Teaching
Maybe I am not realistic, but I still believe education is supposed to enlighten, not to indoctrinate to conform. Tackling our myopia of false necessity is a starting point to make the world better for all. Questioning the status quo is our responsibility, and asking ourselves whether we can do better for all of us is our obligation. Does it have to be this way? What do we want to do about it? What could we do about it given what we know?

Realistically, raising that line of questions is subversive even in our publicly funded classrooms. In our society, many see university studies only as a vending machine for diplomas so presumably university graduates can go get a job rather than as a catalyst for lifelong learning so thoughtfully university graduates can design their professional and personal lives. Students face mounting pressure for individual "success," often in terms of money, from everywhere. As a result, some students do whatever it takes to try to get "good" grades, pretending to be who they are not even at the expense of hurting their integrity and justifying their actions by telling themselves others are acting just the same.

Coping with the grim reality, I try to hang onto the glimmer of hope that education can change lives for the better for all. If students want, education can change their lives, empowering them to become part of the solutions rather than part of the problems in our society. If students want, they can learn to realize their potential in university studies. But even if students do not want to learn much from coursework, they could still learn to think not just about their own well-being but also about the well-being of others in university studies.

Caring begins with understanding, and with that then not all is lost.


Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2017 AP/HREQ3761 3.0  Canada's Social Policy LECT  
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/PPAS4130 6.0  Politics, Law and the Courts SEMR