Dr Ira Lindsay

Research Interests

Taxation, Property, Jurisprudence, Comparative Law, Political Philosophy 

Departmental Duties

Deputy Director of the Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy

Contact Me

E-mail:
Phone: 01483 68 3561

Find me on campus
Room: 31 AB 05

Publications

Journal articles

  • Lindsay IK. (2016) 'Tax Fairness by Convention: A Defense of Horizontal Equity'. University of Florida Florida Tax Review, 19 (2), pp. 79-119.

    Abstract

    Horizontal equity is the principle that people who earn equal income should owe equal tax. It has gotten a bad name. Although horizontal equity remains a textbook criterion of tax fairness, scholarly literature is largely hostile. Scholars ranging from the legal theorist Louis Kaplow to philosophers Thomas Nagel and Liam Murphy question its conceptual coherence and normative significance. The crux of the case against horizontal equity is that it seems irrational to worry about the relationship between pre-tax income and tax obligations rather than determining tax policy in light of what our best theory of distributive justice tells us is the best post-tax outcome. I argue that horizontal equity is best understood as a compromise principle for people who disagree about deeper principles of distributive justice. The debate over horizontal equity reflects two distinct ways of thinking about fairness. One approach starts with principles that specify a just distribution of income, resources or utility and uses these principles to derive appropriate tax laws. A second approach analyzes fairness norms as stable and mutually advantageous compromises between people who have conflicting interests and differing moral commitments. Proponents and opponents of redistributive taxation can agree that at any given level of redistribution they will each be better off if taxes are horizontally equitable. Horizontally equitable taxation can thus prevent rent-seeking and ideological conflict over tax policy from generating a wasteful patchwork of narrow taxes and tax subsidies. Observing horizontal equity may be unimportant when people agree on ideal principles of justice and the relevant empirical facts. But under more usual conditions of deep moral and empirical disagreement over tax policy, treating pre-tax income as a normative baseline can prevent conflict over distributive questions from leading to wasteful and inequitable tax policy.

  • Lindsay IK. (2010) 'A Troubled Path to Private Property: Agricultural Land Law in Russia'. Transnational Juris Publications Columbia Journal of European Law, 16 (2), pp. 261-302.

    Abstract

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, many observers hoped that decollectivization would improve the infamously inefficient Soviet agricultural sector and raise collective farm workers out of poverty. The initial results of market reform in Russian agriculture were a severe disappointment in both respects. Under Putin, Russia finally allowed agricultural land to be bought and sold. The effects of this latest reform neither met the expectations of its supporters nor realized the fears of its opponents. Russia's experience with land reform suggests that while private ownership of farmland may offer significant advantages, successful land reform requires much more than the creation of legal rights. This Article explores the role of property law in post-Soviet Russian agriculture and charts the development and effect of land markets in rural Russia, revealing broad implications for the effects of land privatization on agriculture, the barriers to creating well functioning land markets, and the significance of property law for economic development.

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