Tax Policy and Distributive Justice

This seminar examines tax policy through the lens of distributive justice. It begins by considering the traditional criteria for evaluating taxes: equity and efficiency, with a focus on whether economic efficiency and economic justice are reconcilable goals. Students read some political theory in order to explore the meaning of fairness in taxation. Having mastered basic economic and philosophical tools, students turn to the classic tax policy issues of progressivity and choice of tax base (income, consumption, and wealth), and also examine selected policy issues, which change each year. Topics have included: taxation of the family, taxation of the poor, taxation of human capital, personal deductions, exemption for nonprofit organizations, transitions in the tax law, and the politics of tax. The readings are a combination of classics in the tax policy literature and exemplars of contemporary debates. The class regularly discusses current events.
Credits: 3

Type: SEM

Does this course satisfy the writing requirement? Yes