The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

272. Louis Kaplow and Steven Shavell, Should Legal Rules Favor the Poor? Clarifying the Role of Legal Rules and the Income Tax in Redistributing Income, 1/00; subsequently published in Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2000, 821-835.

Abstract: 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 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 it is of doubtful practical importance.

272: PDF