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The Myth of OwnershipTaxes and Justice$
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Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195150163.001.0001

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Tax Discrimination

Tax Discrimination

(p.162) 8 Tax Discrimination
The Myth of Ownership

Liam Murphy

Thomas Nagel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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