Mathias Risse Photo

Mathias Risse

Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration
Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Rubenstein Bldg 225

Risse, Mathias, and Marco Meyer. "The Globalized Myth of Ownership and Its Implications for Tax Competition." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP18-018, June 2018.


Tax competition (by states) and tax evasion (by individuals or companies) unfold at a dramatic scale. An obvious adverse effect is that some states lose their tax base. Perhaps less obviously, states lose out by setting tax policy differently – often reducing taxes – due to tax competition. Is tax competition among states morally problematic? We approach this question by identifying the globalized myth of ownership. We choose this name parallel to Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel’s myth of ownership. The globalized myth is the (false) view that one can assess a country’s justifiably disposable national income simply by looking at its gross national income (or gross national income as it would be absent certain forms of tax competition). Much like its domestic counterpart, exposing that myth will have important implications across a range of domains. Here we explore specifically how tax competition in an interconnected world appears in this light, and so by drawing on the grounds-of-justice approach developed in Mathias Risse’s On Global Justice.