Instructor(s): Emily Satterthwaite

For graduate students, the course number is LAW2073H.

Note: This course satisfies the Perspective course requirement.

Nearly one-fifth of all federal tax revenue in Canada is derived from taxes on consumption, such as the Goods and Services Tax, excise taxes on sin goods such as alcohol, and fuel taxes. Consumption taxes are gaining in popularity worldwide, and there is growing interest among subnational and municipal governments in taxing consumption to raise revenue, modify taxpayer behaviour, or both.

This seminar will survey the design and implications of consumption taxes from two broad perspectives: economic and social. Economic perspectives will focus on efficiency from a welfarist standpoint; other social perspectives will incorporate broader criteria such as distributional equity (across income, wealth, gender, race, health/body status, and other categories), the expressive role of taxes, and post-colonialist critiques of consumption taxation. After surveying the basic economic literature on consumption tax design (as well as critical perspectives on this literature), specific topics will include: value-added taxation (including its impact on small businesses), soda taxes, tobacco/alcohol taxes, emerging issues in the taxation of cannabis, and challenges relating to compliance and enforcement.

Evaluation
Class participation (10%), Short seminar presentation (20%), Term paper of 6,000 words, (70%).

At a Glance

First Term
Credits
3
Hours
2
Perspective course

Enrolment

Maximum
20
15 JD
5 LLM/SJD/MSL/NDEGS/SJD U

Schedule

W: 2:10 - 4:00