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tax policy, taxation, feminist tax policy, economic analysis

Subject Categories

Law | Law and Gender | Taxation | Tax Law


This is a review essay that examines Professor Edward McCaffery's important book, "Taxing Women." It argues that while McCaffery provides a detailed and nuanced analysis of the feminist and economic issues, his work is problematic in several ways. First, it is not clear that the optimal theory of taxation leads to the policy reform he proposes-it may be both underinclusive and overinclusive. Second, even if McCaffery has identified a clear economic rationale for taxing married women at a lower rate than men and single women, feminists may object to this proposed tax structure on a number of grounds. Finally, McCaffery's theoretical arguments for tax reform ignore the political problems associated with implementing legal change in the real world. As a number of political theorists have noted, legislators tend to pursue policies and programs that advance their own interests even when it entails rejecting public-regarding policy proposals. Despite these shortcomings, however, McCaffery's indepth and interdisciplinary analysis represents an important advance in this area of the law. Taxing Women is a book that will be of interest to a wide range of theorists and policymakers.