Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Endorsement for the Height Tax

GMU economist Robin Hanson must be an unabashed Utilitarian.

In the conclusion of our paper on the height tax, Weinzierl and I write:
Our results, therefore, leave readers with a menu of conclusions. You must either advocate a tax on height, or you must reject, or at least significantly amend, the conventional Utilitarian approach to optimal taxation. The choice is yours, but the choice cannot be avoided.
Over at his blog, Hanson makes his choice:

Elite academics, including economists, seem to me to display a huge status-quo bias. All policies outside a certain range of familiar possibilities seem "silly" to ordinary people. So no matter how strong the supporting arguments, elite academics feel they must reject such proposals, so as not to seem silly themselves. Thus basically only eccentric academics, resigned to never becoming more elite, endorse such proposals. Since that describes me, let me state loudly and clearly: the economic theory is solid, so I support a revenue-neutral height tax as improving the status quo.