How Boats and Cake Are Like Taxes

Whether deciding how to divide boats in Santa Barbara harbor, a cake, or tax revenue, fair distribution requires knowing what different people say is fair.

Election Economics 2016: Equality or Efficiency?

With the presidential election only weeks away, it is time to return to our quadrennial series on the issues. While each Tuesday we will spotlight specific topics like the deficit and aging, I thought a philosophy definer was the right place to start. Where…

When Less is More

While positional goods create inequality, a closer look reveals that the impact can be negative or positive.

How To Be Sure That Everyone Has a Minimum Income

Four decades ago, in a rural Manitoba community, Canada experimented with cash grants to low income families. Called MINCOME, the program provided for different cash payments based on the household’s proximity to the poverty level. The grant was conditional. Earning…

Income Redistribution: The Venezuelan Economy

The Venezuelan economy in 3 pictures: Observed during October, 2010, the sign shows that there is a price ceiling for Diana Oil. At 4,73 bolivars, the ceiling is 32% less than 7 bolivars, its “capitalist price.” As always, price ceilings lead…

Do You Agree With French Taxes?

Talking about taxes, economists like to quote Louis XIV’s finance minister: “The art of taxation consists of so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” We have been hearing…