Example Two of Taking Law Seriously in Fiscal Sociology: Tax, Spending and Gender

  • Ann MumfordEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


This chapter extends a fiscal sociological analysis to the benefit cap litigation in the UK. The conclusion is that the legal system aims to preserve the availability of the unpaid labour of women. Focusing only on economic modelling, and not on values (Cooter), norms (Prosser) and law (Ruffert), misses the point that budgeting and law have combined so as to provide a legal framework which does not protect women from suffering the brunt of budget controlling initiatives.


  1. Adler, Michael E. 1975. “IFS Conference on Proposals for a Tax-Credit System.” Journal of Social Policy 4 (1): 97–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldridge, H., and T. MacInnes. 2014. “Multiple Cuts for the Poorest Families.” Oxfam Research Reports.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, Tony. 2011. “The Case for Universal Child Benefit.” In Fighting Poverty, Inequality and Injustice: A Manifesto Inspired by Peter Townsend, edited by Alan Walker, Adrian Sinfield, and Carol Walker, 79–90. Portland: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  4. Backhaus, Jürgen G. 2004. “Joseph A. Schumpeter’s Contributions in the Area of Fiscal Sociology: A First Approximation.” Journal of Evolutionary Economics 14 (2): 143–151.Google Scholar
  5. Banerjee, Nirmala, and Maithreyi Krishnaraj. 2004. “Sieving Budgets for Gender.” Economic and Political Weekly 39 (44): 4788–4791.Google Scholar
  6. Bell, Daniel. 1974. “The Public Household-on Fiscal Sociology and the Liberal Society.” The Public Interest 37: 29.Google Scholar
  7. Bendix, Reinhard. 1974. “Inequality and Social Structure: A Comparison of Marx and Weber.” American Sociological Review 39: 149–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Besson, Samantha. 2008. “Gender Discrimination Under EU and ECHR Law: Never Shall the Twain Meet?” Human Rights Law Review 8 (4): 647–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blyberg, Ann. 2009. “The Case of the Mislaid Allocation: Economic and Social Rights and Budget Work.” Sur—International 11 (1): 123–140.Google Scholar
  10. Blundell, Richard. 2001. “Welfare-to-Work: Which Policies Work and Why?” Proceedings of the British Academy.Google Scholar
  11. Blundell, R., A. Duncan, J. McCrae, and C. Meghir. 2000. “The Labour Market Impact of the Working Families’ Tax Credit.” Fiscal Studies 21 (1): 75–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bowler, Tracey. 2007. “Taxation of the Family, Tax Law Review Committee”, Discussion paper No. 6, The Institute for Fiscal Studies. Last accessed 4 September 2019.
  13. Brewer, Mike, Tom Clark, and Alissa Goodman. 2003. “What Really Happened to Child Poverty in the UK Under Labour’s First Term?” The Economic Journal 113 (488): F240–F257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bryson, Valerie, and Timothy Heppell. 2010. “Conservatism and Feminism: The Case of the British Conservative Party.” Journal of Political Ideologies 15 (1): 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Campbell, John L. 1993. “The State and Fiscal Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology 19 (1): 163–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Casper, Lynne M., Sara S. McLanahan, and Irwin Garfinkel. 1994. “The Gender-Poverty Gap: What We Can Learn from Other Countries.” American Sociological Review 59 (4): 594–605. Scholar
  17. Collins, Hugh. 2003. “Discrimination, Equality and Social Inclusion.” Modern Law Review 66 (1): 16–43. Scholar
  18. Cousins, Mel. 2013. “Equal Treatment and Objective Justification in Social Security Cases Under the European Convention on Human Rights.” Journal of Social Security Law 20: 13–23.Google Scholar
  19. Dawson, Andrew. 2010. “State Capacity and the Political Economy of Child Mortality in Developing Countries Revisited: From Fiscal Sociology Towards the Rule of Law.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 51 (6): 403–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Agostini, P., J. Hills, and H. Sutherland. 2014. “Were We Really All in It Together? The Distributional Effects of the UK Coalition Government’s Tax-Benefit Policy Changes.” Social Policy in a Cold Climate, Working Paper 10, CASE, London.Google Scholar
  21. Dickens, Richard, and David T. Ellwood. 2003. “Child Poverty in Britain and the United States.” The Economic Journal 113 (488): F219–F239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Docksey, Chris. 1991. “The Principle of Equality Between Women and Men as a Fundamental Right Under Community Law.” Industrial Law Journal 20: 258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dolowitz, David P. 2003. “A Policy-Maker’s Guide to Policy Transfer.” The Political Quarterly 74 (1): 101–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Doyle, Oran. 2007. “Direct Discrimination, Indirect Discrimination and Autonomy.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27 (3): 537–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eames, John. 2012. “Human Rights: Discrimination—Tax Credits—Children—Separated Parents—Humphreys v Revenue and Customs Commissioners.” Journal of Social Security Law 19 (3): D126.Google Scholar
  26. Fagan, Colette, and Jill Rubery. 2018. “Advancing Gender Equality Through European Employment Policy: The Impact of the UK’s EU Membership and the Risks of Brexit.” Social Policy and Society 17 (2): 297–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fenton-Glynn, Claire. 2015. “Austerity and the Benefit Cap: In Whose Best Interests?” Journal of Social Welfare Family Law 37 (4): 467–469. Scholar
  28. Fineman, Martha Albertson, and Nancy Sweet Thomadsen. 2013. At the Boundaries of Law (RLE Feminist Theory): Feminism and Legal Theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Folbre, Nancy. 1995. “‘Holding Hands at Midnight’: The Paradox of Caring Labor.” Feminist Economics 1 (1): 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Friedman, J. 1974. “Marxism, Structuralism and Vulgar Materialism.” Man 9: 444–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gardner, John. 1996. “Discrimination as Injustice.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 16 (3): 353–367.
  32. Gedalof, Irene. 2018. “Academic Reflection—Narratives of Justice and the Welfare State in Times of Austerity.” feminists@ law 8 (2). Accessed 4 September 2019.
  33. Hamnett, C. 2014. “Shrinking the Welfare State: The Structure, Geography and Impact of British government Benefit Cuts.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 39: 490–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Himmelweit, Susan. 1991. “Reproduction and the Materialist Conception of History: A Feminist Critique.” In The Cambridge Companion to Marx, edited by Terrell Carver, 170–190. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Himmelweit, S. 2002. “Making Visible the Hidden Economy: The Case for Gender-Impact Analysis of Economic Policy.” Feminist Economics 8 (1): 49–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hodkinson, Stuart, and Glyn Robbins. 2012. “The Return of Class War Conservatism? Housing Under the UK Coalition Government.” Critical Social Policy 33 (1): 57–77. Scholar
  37. Hunter, Rosemary. 1992. Indirect Discrimination in the Workplace. Annandale: Federation Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kenworthy, Lane. 2009. “Tax Myths.” Contexts 8 (3): 28–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Khaitan, Tarunabh. 2015. A Theory of Discrimination Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Lacey, Nicola. 1987. “Legislation Against Sex Discrimination: Questions from a Feminist Perspective.” Journal of Law and Society 14 (4): 411–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lahey, Kathleen A. 1987. “Feminist Theories of (In)Equality Papers from the 1986 Feminism and Legal Theory Conference.” Wisconsin Womens Law Journal 3: 5–28.Google Scholar
  42. Lahey, Kathleen A. 2000. The Benefit/Penalty Unit in Income Tax Policy: Diversity and Reform. Ottawa: Law Commission of Canada.Google Scholar
  43. Lahey, Kathleen A. 2009. “International Transactions, Taxation, and Women: The Critical Role of Gender Analysis.” UBC Law Review 42: 363.Google Scholar
  44. Lahey, Kathleen A. 2010. “Women, Substantive Equality, and Fiscal Policy: Gender-Based Analysis of Taxes, Benefits, and Budgets.” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 22: 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lahey, Kathleen A., and Paloma de Villota. 2013. “Economic Crisis, Gender Equality, and Policy Responses in Spain and Canada.” Feminist Economics 19 (3): 82–107. Scholar
  46. Levy, Horacio, Christine Lietz, and Holly Sutherland. 2007. “Swapping Policies: Alternative Tax-Benefit Strategies to Support Children in Austria, Spain and the UK.” Journal of Social Policy 36 (4): 625–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lewis, Jane. 2001. “The Decline of the Male Breadwinner Model: Implications for Work and Care.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 8 (2): 152–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lister, Ruth. 2006. “Children (but Not Women) First: New Labour, Child Welfare and Gender.” Critical Social Policy 26 (2): 315–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lombardo, Emanuela. 2003. “EU Gender Policy: Trapped in the Wollstonecraft Dilemma’?” European Journal of Womens Studies 10 (2): 159–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lund, Brian. 1999. “‘Ask Not What Your Community Can Do for You’: Obligations, New Labour and Welfare Reform.” Critical Social Policy 19 (4): 447–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Macklem, Timothy. 2003. Beyond Comparison: Sex and Discrimination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Martin, Isaac William, Ajay K. Mehrotra, and Monica Prasad. 2009. “The Thunder of History: The Origins and Development of the New Fiscal Sociology.” In The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective, 1–27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Mauricio, Ana Julia. 2014. “Overview: Tax Law.” Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 3: 316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McCaffery, Edward J. 2009. “Where’s the Sex in Fiscal Sociology?” In The New Fiscal Sociology, edited by Isaac William Martin, Ajay K. Mehrotra and Monica Prasad, 216–236. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. McKeever, Grainne. 2018. “Universal Credit.” Journal of Social Security Law 25: 4.Google Scholar
  56. McLaughlin, Eithne, Janet Trewsdale, and Naomi McCay. 2001. “The Rise and Fall of the UK’s First Tax Credit: The Working Families Tax Credit 1998–2000.” Social Policy & Administration 35 (2): 163–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mill, John Stuart, and Stephen Nathanson. 1875. Principles of Political Economy (Abridged): With Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar
  58. Musgrave, R. 1980. “Theories of Fiscal Crises: An Essay in Fiscal Sociology.” In The Economics of Taxation, Brookings Institution, edited by Henry J. Aaron and Michael J. Boskins, 316–390. Washington, Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  59. Moreau, Sophia. 2010. “What Is Discrimination?” Philosophy & Public Affairs 38 (2): 143–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Morris, Andrew J. 1995. “On the Normative Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law: Understanding the Competing Models of Discrimination Law as Aristotelian Forms of Justice.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 15: 199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Newman, Janet. 2001. Modernizing Governance: New Labour, Policy and Society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. O’Brien, Rourke L. 2017. “Redistribution and the New Fiscal Sociology: Race and the Progressivity of State and Local Taxes.” American Journal of Sociology 122 (4): 1015–1049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. O’Donovan, Katherine. 1989. “Engendering Justice: Women’s Perspectives and the Rule of Law.” The University of Toronto Law Journal 39 (2): 127–148. Scholar
  64. O’Hagan, Angela, Eva Neizert, and Lynn Carvill. 2018. “Gender Budgeting in the UK: Devolution, Divergence and Diversity.” In Gender Budgeting in Europe: Developments and Challenges, edited by Angela O’Hagan and Elizabeth Klatzer, 293–316. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  65. Pfau‐Effinger, Birgit. 2004. “Socio‐Historical Paths of the Male Breadwinner Model–An Explanation of Cross‐National Differences 1.” The British Journal of Sociology 55 (3): 377–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Phung, Viet-Hai. 2008. “Ethnicity and Child Poverty Under New Labour: A Research Review.” Social Policy and Society 7 (4): 551–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Prosser, Tony. 2011. “‘An Opportunity to Take a More Fundamental Look at the Role of Government in Society’: The Spending Review as Regulation.” Public Law (3): 596–616.Google Scholar
  68. Puttick, Keith. 2017. “Working Tax Credit.” WestLaw Insight.Google Scholar
  69. Rafferty, Anthony, and Jill Rubery. 2013. “Gender, Recession and Austerity in the UK.” In Women and Austerity, edited by M. Karamessini and J. Rubery, 145–165. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  70. Raz, Joseph. 1972. “Legal Principles and the Limits of Law.” Yale Law Journal 81 (5): 823–854. Scholar
  71. Rowlands, Jo. 2002. “Alive and Kicking: Women’s and Men’s Responses to Poverty and Globalisation in the UK.” Gender & Development 10 (3): 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Royston, Tom, and Charlotte O’Brien. 2017. “The Cap Doesn’t Fit.” Journal of Social Security Law 24 (3): D96–D97.Google Scholar
  73. Salomon, Margot E. 2015. “Of Austerity, Human Rights and International Institutions.” European Law Journal 21 (4): 521–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sainsbury, Roy. 2010. “Twenty-first Century Welfare—Getting Closer to Radical Benefit Reform?” Public Policy Research. 17: 102–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sanders, Anna, Claire Annesley, and Francesca Gains. 2019. “What Did the Coalition Government Do for Women? An Analysis of Gender Equality Policy Agendas in the UK 2010–2015.” British Politics 14: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1955. Imperialism; Social Classes: Two Essays. Vol. 4. Ludwig: von Mises Institute.Google Scholar
  77. Schumpeter, Joseph A. 2010/2013. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  78. Smith, Noel. 2008. “Tackling Child Poverty Dynamics: Filling in Gaps in the Strategy.” Social Policy and Society 7 (4): 507–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Somek, Alexander. 2011. Engineering Equality: An Essay on European Anti-Discrimination Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Spencer, Nicola S. 1986. “Taxation of Husband and Wife: Lessons from Europe.” Fiscal studies 7 (3): 83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Steccolini, Ileana. 2019. “New Development: Gender (Responsive) Budgeting—A Reflection on Critical Issues and Future Challenges.” Public Money & Management 39: 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Stratigaki, M. 2012. “Gendering the Social Policy Agenda: Anti-discrimination, Social Inclusion and Social Protection.” In Gendering the European Union: New Approaches to Old Democratic Deficitis, edited by Gabriele Abels and J. M. Abels, 169–186. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Stotsky, J. G. 2006. “Gender Budgeting.” IMF Working Paper No. 06/232.Google Scholar
  84. Taylor-Gooby, Peter, Trine Larsen, and Johannes Kananen. 2004. “Market Means and Welfare Ends: The UK Welfare State Experiment.” Journal of Social Policy 33 (4): 573–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Walby, Sylvia. 1994. “Is Citizenship Gendered?” Sociology 28 (2): 379–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Walker, Robert. 1998. “Does Work Work?” Journal of Social Policy 27 (4): 533–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Walker, Robert, and Michael Wiseman. 2003. “Making Welfare Work: UK Activation Policies Under New Labour.” International Social Security Review 56 (1): 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Westen, Peter. 1982. “The Empty Idea of Equality.” Harvard Law Review 95 (3): 537–596. Scholar
  89. Wilson, Shaun. 2013. “The Limits of Low-Tax Social Democracy? Welfare, Tax and Fiscal Dilemmas for Labor in Government.” Australian Journal of Political Science 48 (3): 286–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dickson Poon School of LawKing’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations