Taxation, the Private Law, and Distributive Justice
Social Philosophy and Policy, Vol. 23, pp. 142-165, 2006
24 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2008 Last revised: 14 Jan 2018
Date Written: 2006
We argue that for theorists with a post-institutional conception of property, e.g., Rawlsians, there is no principled reason to limit the domain of distributive justice to tax and transfer-both tax policy and the rules of the private law are constructed in service to distributive aims. Such theorists cannot maintain a commitment to a normative conception of private law independent of their overarching distributive principles. In contrast, theorists with a pre-institutional conception of property can derive the private law from sectors of morality independent of distributive justice. Nevertheless, we argue, this does not entail that the private law, for pre-institutional theorists, must be sanitized of equity-oriented values. Non-libertarian pre-institutional theorists holding principled commitments to equity-oriented values are free to invoke either tax and transfer or the rules of the private law to attain them.
Keywords: Tax, Taxation, Distributive Justice, (Re)Distribution, Property, Ripstein, Rawls, Equity, Kaplow, Shavell, Nagel, Murphy, Private law, Bankruptcy, Law and Economics, Thomas Jackson, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Schwartz
JEL Classification: H20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation