Tax Discrimination

Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel

in The Myth of Ownership

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195150162
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833924 | DOI:
 Tax Discrimination

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Since the distribution of tax burdens has no intrinsic moral significance, there is no genuine value of horizontal equity. Favorable tax treatment of owner-occupied housing is not intrinsically unfair, though it may be objectionable for contributing to social inequality. And a “marriage penalty” is not unfair, though it may be arbitrary. However the tax system can have discriminatory effects; for example, a combination of joint filing and graduated rates results in a disincentive for second earners (at present mostly women) to seek work.

Keywords: horizontal equity; housing; marriage; discrimination; second earners; women

Chapter.  3705 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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