Taxation, the Law, and Economic Inequality (20474). 2 units. In this course, we will try to rewrite the playbook of economic analysis of the law, which has long been focused on efficiency even as demand has risen across the political spectrum to address income inequality. Though the class will discuss applications, the focus of the course’s readings and class time will be the methodology of policy design and analysis. But the goal of the course will not be to talk about how to do economic analysis of the law considering income inequality but rather to actually do such analysis—and write a paper applying the course material to some part of the law, using the lawyer’s unique combination of institutional knowledge and pluralistic normative commitments.
We will build economic analysis of the law from the ground up, starting with the trade-off between equity and efficiency, and consider a variety of normative perspectives on income inequality, including those driven by advances in behavioral economics. We will then turn to income taxation, the standard response to income inequality, and then to the arguments for and against using other parts of the law to address income inequality. We will then discuss how economic analysis of the law could optimally address (or not address) income inequality, taking into account issues of economic incidence and political economy. Finally, we will discuss various applications and proposals for addressing income inequality. Some basic knowledge of economics will be assumed. Paper required. Enrollment limited to twelve. Permission of the instructor required. Z. Liscow.
Course Bidding: In addition to listing this course among permission-of-the-instructor selections, students should submit a CV and one-paragraph statement of interest by June 23, 4:30 p.m. Selecting this course constitutes authorization for the Registrar's Office to release a copy of the student's Law School transcript to the instructor.