Utilitarianism and Wealth Transfer Taxation

34 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jennifer Bird-Pollan

Jennifer Bird-Pollan

University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law

Date Written: December 4, 2016


This article is the third in a series examining the continued relevance and philosophical legitimacy of the United States wealth transfer tax system from within a particular philosophical perspective. The article examines the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and his philosophical progeny and distinguishes the philosophical approach of utilitarianism from contemporary welfare economics, primarily on the basis of the concept of “utility” in each approach. After explicating the utilitarian criteria for ethical action, the article goes on to think through what Mill’s utilitarianism says about the taxation of wealth and wealth transfers, the United States federal wealth transfer tax system as it stands today, and what structural changes might improve the system under a utilitarian framework.

Suggested Citation

Bird-Pollan, Jennifer, Utilitarianism and Wealth Transfer Taxation (December 4, 2016). Arkansas Law Review, Vol. 69, p. 695, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2930545

Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law ( email )

Law Building
Lexington, KY 40506

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