Ira Lindsay

Dr Ira Lindsay


Senior Lecturer in Finance Law and Ethics

Biography

Biography

Dr. Ira K. Lindsay is a Senior Lecturer in Finance Law and Ethics at the University of Surrey School of Law where he teaches taxation and property law. Dr. Lindsay graduated with a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study Russian history at the European University of St. Petersburg. At Yale Law School, he served as a teaching assistant for Contracts and assisted in the legal defense of detainees before military commissions in Guantanamo Bay. After graduating from Yale, he practiced tax law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York City and served as a law clerk to Judge Stephen F. Williams at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Dr. Lindsay defended a doctoral dissertation in philosophy, "A Humean Theory of Property Rights," at the University of Michigan in 2014. From 2014 to 2016, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College in the Department of Philosophy and the Political Economy Project. Dr. Lindsay's research interests including taxation, property, jurisprudence, comparative law and political philosophy. His work has appeared in the Florida Tax Review and the Columbia Journal of European Law.

Research interests

Taxation, Property, Jurisprudence, Comparative Law, Political Philosophy

Departmental duties

Deputy Director of the Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy

My publications

Publications

Lindsay IK (2010) A Troubled Path to Private Property: Agricultural Land Law in Russia, Columbia Journal of European Law 16 (2) pp. 261-302 Transnational Juris Publications
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.
Lindsay IK (2016) Tax Fairness by Convention: A Defense of Horizontal Equity, Florida Tax Review 19 (2) pp. 79-119 University of Florida
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.