Should Legal Rules Favor the Poor? Clarifying the Role of Legal Rules and the Income Tax in Redistributing Income
20 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2000
Date Written: Olin Center Working Paper No. 272
In our 1994 article in this Journal, we demonstrated that legal rules should not be adjusted to disfavor the rich and favor the poor in order to redistribute income, because the income tax and transfer system is a more efficient means of redistribution. In this article, we revisit our argument and others that favor relying on the income tax system to redistribute income, and we then focus on qualifications to our argument that we previously offered. In particular, we elaborate on a qualification that is the subject of Sanchirico's article in this issue of the Journal and explain why it has only a tangential bearing on the question whether legal rules should favor the poor and it is of doubtful practical importance.
JEL Classification: H23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation