Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Choi: A Survey Of Law Professors On Tax Reform

Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar), A Survey of Law Professors on Tax Reform, 38 Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Aug. 25, 2021):

As the Biden administration’s inaugural budget reaches the crucial final steps of the legislative process, a number of significant tax reforms are under consideration for the first time in years. The administration has appointed several tax law professors to help advise the effort. But what does the tax academy in general think? What Biden administration reforms do the most tax law professors support, and which reforms would professors like to see which the administration has not yet proposed? To answer these questions, I surveyed American tax law professors on their opinions of fundamental tax law reforms. ...

The survey was sent to all American tax law professors listed in the Directory of Law Teachers published by the Association of American Law Schools. 486 surveys were distributed, and 167 responses were received, giving a 34.4% response rate. The survey opened on July 7, 2021 and closed on July 16, 2021.

The format of the survey was simple: a single page with a series of potential federal tax reforms. The respondent was asked whether she supported the reforms, and for each could indicate “Yes,” “No,” or “Neutral / No Opinion.” ...

The following graph shows “Yes if Opinion” percentages, again in descending order.


134 of the respondents were tenured, and 33 were untenured. Tenured and untenured faculty did not substantially differ on average propensity to respond “Yes” across all the reforms, although they differed on some specific reforms. Among those respondents who had an opinion, tenured faculty were especially more likely to support wealth taxes (17.1% more likely). Untenured faculty were especially more likely to support expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (18.2% more likely), a negative universal tax or basic income (17.7% more likely), and a carbon tax (16.4% more likely).

Overall response rates also differed by demographic group. Female professors were slightly more likely to respond to the survey than male professors (37.4% versus 32.9%), and tenured professors were more likely to respond than untenured professors (37.1% versus 26.2%). No other demographic data were collected; analyzing respondents by race, for example, would have been challenging given low numbers of non-white tax law professors.

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