Genes as Tags: The Tax Implications of Widely Available Genetic Information

25 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2007 Last revised: 17 Feb 2014

Kyle D. Logue

University of Michigan Law School

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2007

Abstract

This paper examines how progress in genetics' specifically, the proliferation of knowledge about the human genome' may influence the feasibility and desirability of a tax that is based on individual human endowments or ability. The paper explores various forms that such a genetic endowment tax-and-transfer regime might take and identifies some of the benefits and costs of such a regime. The authors take no position on whether a genetic endowment tax would be desirable or not. However, one contribution of the paper is to observe that current law in the U.S., which restricts the use of genetic information by insurers and employers, is equivalent to a form of genetic endowment tax. The paper also notes that, in the absence of a government-mandated transfer policy with respect to genetic endowments, private insurance markets may arise to fill the gap, allowing individuals to purchase insurance against the possibility of a bad genetic draw.

JEL Classification: H2

Suggested Citation

Logue, Kyle D. and Slemrod, Joel B., Genes as Tags: The Tax Implications of Widely Available Genetic Information (November 2007). U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 07-021. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1032957 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1032957

Kyle D. Logue (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734.936.2207 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://kylelogue.net

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Room R5396
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States
734-936-3914 (Phone)
734-763-4032 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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