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Economics is not what you think: A defense of the economic approach to taxation

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()

    (Economic Theory Center - Princeton University, Le Collège d'études mondiales/FMSH - Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme)

In The Myth of Ownership - Taxes and Justice, Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel (2002) launch an attack against a straw man, the economist who believes that taxation should minimally interfere with property rights and should seek to preserve the market distribution of wealth and income. Instead they propose an approach that focuses on the consequences of any form of public intervention for the distribution of welfare, without any particular ethical concern for the values emerging from the market. In fact, such an approach has been long developed by Mirrlees (1971), whose approach has been dominating the economics of taxation for the last forty years. But more recently the fairness approach to taxation goes beyond welfare consequentialism and attributes some value to market allocations, in line with the theories of justice proposed by Rawls and Dworkin.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00698575.

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Date of creation: 20 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00698575
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  1. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  2. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591, March.
  3. Diamond, P., 1994. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Exemple with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," Working papers 94-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  5. Guilhem Fabre & Stephane Grumbach, 2012. "The World upside down, China's R&D and innovation strategy," Working Papers halshs-00686389, HAL.
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