Taxing the tall?

It has been known for some time that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts (if you don’t believe it, just read this article). As sad as it sounds, there is not much that can be done about it, right? Well, that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about the bad news (I am not very tall), but Harvard professors Mankiw and Weinzierl’s newest work puts a (theoretic) end to the social injustice by concluding that tall people should pay higher taxes than short ones. Isn’t that just genius?

2 Replies to “Taxing the tall?”

  1. Hi Felix… I think you shouldn’t fear getting taxed again, as Mankiw’s proposal is very unlikely to be taken too seriously 🙂 As a matter of fact, the point of the article is to re-evaluate a particular taxing philosophy: the distribution of wealth among the less-favored.

    “The problem addressed in this paper is a classic one: the optimal redistribution of income. A utilitarian social planner would like to transfer resources from high-ability individuals to low-ability individuals, but he is constrained by the fact that he cannot directly observe ability (..) If the planner’s problem is made more realistic by allowing him to observe other variables correlated with ability, such as height, he should use those other variables in addition to income for setting optimal policy.â€?

  2. Haven’t read Weinzierl’s work but at least in Germany people with a higher income pay more taxes than people with a lower income. So the injustice is already made just with this measure. Do we (I’m really tall) need to be taxed again? (I don’t earn much, anyway…)

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