Talents, Types and Tags. What is the Relevance of the Endowment Tax Debate?
31 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 9, 2016
The academic debate on taxation of endowments or 'talents' is misguided in several respects. Following John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, it tends to over-emphasize the 'slavery of the talented' problem. As a result, it ignores that a full-fledged endowment tax, if feasible, would offer a sizeable tax cut to all high-income earners. Of course, a true endowment tax is not practicable: the distinction between individuals' 'endowments' and their 'choices' finds very limited support in the social sciences. But the debate on endowment taxation has generated something useful. It does point at identifiable sources of economic inequality, such as labour market discriminations, that might well be considered relevant to the distribution of the tax burden.
Keywords: Endowment taxation, ability to pay, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin
JEL Classification: H20, H24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation