Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=224944
 
 

References (20)



 
 

Citations (8)



 
 

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Horizontal Equity: New Measures, Unclear Principles


Louis Kaplow


Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

March 2000

The Role of Inequality in Tax Policy, American Enterprise Institute, 2000

Abstract:     
Alan Auerbach and Kevin Hassett offer a new measure of horizontal equity (HE) that is designed to overcome deficiencies in prior indexes. There is, however, a fundamental problem that their effort shares with their predecessors' attempts: the underlying rationale for pursuing HE at the expense of individuals' well-being is never stated. Moreover, as discussed here, it appears that no plausible rationale can be given because the essence of HE involves giving weight to morally arbitrary factors. Indeed, pursuing HE may even conflict with the Pareto principle. On reflection, it seems that the appeal of HE is specious: HE does not possess intrinsic value, but rather is a rough proxy concept that may signal various ways in which unequal treatment of individuals can lead to a loss in social welfare. Unfortunately, HE indexes are not very useful even with regard to HE's proxy role.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

JEL Classification: D63, H23, H24

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Date posted: June 22, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Kaplow, Louis, Horizontal Equity: New Measures, Unclear Principles (March 2000). The Role of Inequality in Tax Policy, American Enterprise Institute, 2000. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=224944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.224944

Contact Information

Louis Kaplow (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4101 (Phone)
617-496-4880 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/facdir.php?id=32&show=bibliography
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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