Horizontal Equity: New Measures, Unclear Principles
AbstractAlan Auerbach and Kevin Hassett offer a new measure of horizontal equity (HE) that is designed to overcome deficiencies in prior indexes. There is, however, a fundamental problem that their effort shares with their predecessors' attempts: the underlying rationale for pursuing HE at the expense of individuals' well-being is never stated. Moreover, as discussed here, it appears that no plausible rationale can be given because the essence of HE involves giving weight to morally arbitrary factors. Indeed, pursuing HE may even conflict with the Pareto principle. On reflection, it seems that the appeal of HE is specious: HE does not possess intrinsic value, but rather is a rough proxy concept that may signal various ways in which unequal treatment of individuals can lead to a loss in social welfare. Unfortunately, HE indexes are not very useful even with regard to HE's proxy role.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7649.
Date of creation: Apr 2000
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2000-05-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-MIC-2000-05-16 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-PUB-2000-05-16 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Louis Kaplow, 1996. "How Tax Complexity and Enforcement Affect the Equity and Efficiency of The Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kaplow, Louis, 1989. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 139-54, June.
- Kaplow, Louis, 1996. " Optimal Distribution and the Family," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(1), pages 75-92, March.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
- Kaplow, Louis, 1996. "How Tax Complexity and Enforcement Affect the Equity and Efficiency of the Income Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(1), pages 135-50, March.
- Louis Kaplow, 1989. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," NBER Working Papers 1679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kaplow, Louis, 1995. "A Fundamental Objection to Tax Equity Norms: A Call for Utilitarianism," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 497-514, December.
- Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1999. "Any Non-Individualistic Social Welfare Function Violates the Pareto Principle," NBER Working Papers 7051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feldstein, Martin, 1976. "On the theory of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 77-104.
- Henrik Jordahl & Luca Micheletto, 2003.
"Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
977, CESifo Group Munich.
- Henrik Jordahl & Luca Micheletto, 2005. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(4), pages 681-708, October.
- Jordahl, Henrik & Luca Micheletto, 2002. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 107, Royal Economic Society.
- Jordahl, Henrik & Micheletto, Luca, 2002. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Ratio Working Papers 17, The Ratio Institute.
- Jordahl, Henrik & Micheletto, Luca, 2002. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Working Paper Series 2002:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Blomquist, Sören & Micheletto, Luca, 2003.
"Age Related Optimal Income Taxation,"
Working Paper Series
2003:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2000. "Explaining the Fall and Rise in the Tax Cost of Marriage: The Effect of Tax Laws and Demographic Trends, 1984-97," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 683-712, September.
- Ivica Urban, 2009. "Kakwani decomposition of redistributive effect: Origins, critics and upgrades," Working Papers 148, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.