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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Philip Cowley, Westminster follows US trend for full disclosure



David Cameron’s decision to reveal tax affairs after four years of pressure from the media and his political opponents is just the latest in a series of rows about politicians’ personal finances. But some observers regard publishing one’s tax returns as a mixed blessing, reports the FT. Financial disclosure can distort electoral outcomes, according to Professor Philip Cowley. Research he carried out in 2014 found that, in cases where candidates’ tax returns are routinely disclosed, their popularity declines as their earnings increase. As a result “there would appear to be a considerable incentive, at least in marginal seats, for parties to pick candidates who are less wealthy”, he said.
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