Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle

40 Pages Posted: 26 May 2004 Last revised: 7 Aug 2010

See all articles by Louis Kaplow

Louis Kaplow

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 1985

Abstract

Horizontal equity -- the command that equals be treated equally -- has received increased attention, particularly in attempts to measure the desirability of tax reform proposals. This paper questions whether the normative foundations for horizontal equity justify the indexes and approaches that have generally been adopted. It suggests that past attempts to implement horizontal equity are inconsistent with its supposed foundations and that more thorough examination of the concept raises serious doubts as to whether any alternative interpretation of horizontal equity reasonably consistent with common understanding of the concept can be justified.

Suggested Citation

Kaplow, Louis, Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle (August 1985). NBER Working Paper No. w1679. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=338761

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