LL4CO Half Unit
Taxation of Wealth
This information is for the 2020/21 session.
Dr Andrew Summers NAB.6.06
This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Inequalities and Social Science and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSE for You.
This course is suitable for students from any disciplinary background within the social sciences. No previous study of taxation is required. Some prior familiarity with principles of tax design is advantageous but not essential.
The course examines the taxation of wealth from a variety of academic perspectives, drawing on research from political theory, economics, sociology and law. Taxes on wealth are defined broadly to include taxes on transfers of wealth, returns on wealth, and holdings of wealth. The course equips students with an interdisciplinary framework for explaining and evaluating taxes on wealth, and applies these approaches to existing tax policies and options for reform. The focus is on the UK and US contexts although comparisons are also made with other jurisdictions.
Part I of the course introduces key debates from across the social sciences relevant to the taxation of wealth. Seminars 1-5 cover: (i) defining and measuring wealth; (ii) inequality and distributive justice; (iii) property rights; (iv) economic perspectives; and (v) social and political perspectives. Part II applies these debates to specific wealth tax policies. Seminars 6-10 cover: (i) taxes on transfers: inheritance/estate tax, lifetime receipts tax, comprehensive income tax; (ii) taxes on returns: capital gains tax, capital income tax and (iii) taxes on holdings: property tax, land-value tax, net wealth tax.
This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term. Students will usually have two additional hours in the Summer Term. This year teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.
Students will receive formative feedback on two essay-plans (comprising 300-word abstract, outline of sub-headings, and bibliography) based on past or sample summative essay titles.
Atkinson, Inequality: What can be Done? (Harvard University Press 2015); Graetz & Shapiro, Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth (Princeton University Press 2005); Hills et al, Wealth in the UK: Distribution, Accumulation and Policy (OUP 2013); Institute for Fiscal Studies, The Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation: The Meade Report (Allen & Unwin 1978); Institute for Fiscal Studies, Tax by Design: The Mirrlees Review, Vols 1 & 2 (OUP 2011); Murphy and Nagel, The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice (OUP 2002); Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press 2014); Sandford, Taxing Personal Wealth (Allen & Unwin 1971); Scheve & Stasavage, Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe (Princeton University Press 2016); Waldron, The Right to Private Property (OUP 1991); Young, The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters for the Rich (Stanford University Press 2017)
Essay (100%, 6000 words) in the ST.
Students must answer two essay questions (3,000 words each) from a set of essay titles.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2019/20: 27
Average class size 2019/20: 26
Controlled access 2019/20: Yes
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Application of numeracy skills
- Specialist skills