On 'Dynastic' Inequality
Forthcoming in: Stephen Gardiner (ed), Oxford Handbook of Intergenerational Ethics, Oxford University Press
25 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 13, 2020
This chapter investigates whether the replication of inequality is, other things being equal, morally objectionable in ways not applicable to inequality that remains confined to a single generation or ‘birth cohort’. The focus is both theoretical and practical. The chapter considers the philosophical foundations that might lie behind an objection to dynastic inequality, negotiating the diversity of egalitarian views supporting this position, and the complexity around the causal mechanisms at work in cases where inequality has a dynastic tendency. It then discusses the policy reforms that might target inequalities that replicate old distributive trends while leaving newly produced trends more intact, with a focus on tax policy. Current tax rules in most developed economies do not make a distinction between new and old influences on the material distribution. Accordingly, it is likely that the tax reforms implied could be quite extensive.
Keywords: wealth, inequality, intergenerational ethics, taxation, distributive justice, inheritance
JEL Classification: K00, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation