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Tax policy and fair inequality

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.


    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Tungodden, Bertil


    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

The standard economic approach to tax policy has to a large extent relied on welfarist theories of justice, in particular the utilitarian view that the government should try to maximize the sum of individual welfare. This welfarist framework has proved a productive point of departure for much economic analysis, but it has an important limitation in its inability to take into account considerations of personal responsibility. Welfarist theories evaluate policies solely on the basis of their consequences for individual welfare, and thus do not assign any intrinsic importance to how a specific situation came about.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 3/2012.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2012_003
Contact details of provider: Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Phone: +47 55 959 277
Fax: 5595 9100
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  1. Bossert, W., 1993. "Redistribution Mechanisms Based on Individual Characteristics," Working Papers 9307, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  2. Wulf Gaertner & Lars Schwettmann, 2007. "Equity, Responsibility and the Cultural Dimension," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 627-649, November.
  3. James Konow, 2001. "A Positive Theory of Economic Fairness," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000138, David K. Levine.
  4. John E. Roemer & Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Johan Fritzell & Stephen P. Jenkins & Ive Marx & Marianne Page & Evert Pommer & Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Maria Jesus San Segundo & Torben Tranæs & Gert G., . "To What Extent Do Fiscal Regimes Equalize Opportunities for Income Acquisition among Citizens?," EPRU Working Paper Series 00-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality of opportunity in Brazil," Post-Print halshs-00754189, HAL.
  6. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
  7. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
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