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Should Legal Rules Favor the Poor? Clarifying the Role of Legal Rules and the Income Tax in Redistributing Income

  • Kaplow, Louis
  • Shavell, Steven

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 Chris 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 why it is of doubtful practical importance. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 29 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 821-35

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:2:p:821-35
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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