Zachary Liscow

Professor of Law
(on leave, spring 2024)

J.D., Yale Law School, 2015

Ph.D. (Economics), University of California, Berkeley, 2012

A.B., Harvard University, 2005

Courses Taught
  • Taxation
  • Taxation, the Law, and Economic Inequality
  • Inequality: Economic and Tax Policy
  • Supervised Research: Economic and Tax Policy
Zachary Liscow

Zachary Liscow is Professor of Law at Yale Law School. His wide-ranging work in law and economics currently covers tax policy, benefit-cost analysis, and infrastructure construction costs.  He is particularly interested in developing cost-effective policies to address inequality and understanding what drives the high costs of building U.S. infrastructure. He has also worked in a variety of other areas, including environmental policy and empirical legal studies. Professor Liscow's work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, Bloomberg, CNN, and elsewhere. 

Liscow earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from Yale Law School. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College with degrees in Economics and in Environmental Science and Public Policy. He grew up in South Haven, Michigan. In 2022–23, he was the Chief Economist at the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, and in 2009–2010, he was a Staff Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He also worked for the World Bank's inspector general. Professor Liscow clerked for the Honorable Stephen F. Williams on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


Published and Forthcoming Papers

No More Tax-Free Lunch for Billionaires: Closing the Borrowing Loophole” 182 Tax Notes 647 (2024) (with Edward Fox).

Inequality Snowballing” 77 International Review Of Law & Economics 106180 (2024) (with Daniel Giraldo)

Infrastructure Costs” 15 American Economic Journal: Applied 1 (2023) (with Leah Brooks)

The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule” 213 Journal of Public Economics 104714 (2022) (with Edward Fox)

Why Is So Much Redistribution In-Kind and Not in Cash? Evidence from a Survey Experiment” 75 National Tax Journal 313 (2022) (with Abigail Pershing)

Democratizing Behavioral Economics” 39 Yale Journal on Regulation 1274 (2022) (with Daniel Markovits)

Redistribution for Realists” 107 Iowa Law Review 495 (2022)

Can America Reduce Highway Construction Costs? Evidence from the States” in Economic Analysis and Infrastructure Investment, ed. Edward L. Glaeser & James Poterba (2021) (with Leah Brooks)

A Case for Higher Corporate Tax Rates” (with Edward Fox), 167 Tax Notes Federal 2021 (2020)

Does Legal Status Matter for Educational Choices? Evidence from Immigrant Teenagers” (with William Gui Woolston), 20 American Law and Economics Review 318 (2018)

Is Efficiency Biased?” 85 University of Chicago Law Review 1649 (2018) 

Beyond Head of Household: Rethinking the Taxation of Single Parents” (with Jacob Goldin), 71 Tax Law Review 367 (2018) 

Are Court Orders Sticky? Evidence on Distributional Impacts from School Finance Litigation” 15 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 4 (2018) 

The Efficiency of Equity in Local Government Finance”, 92 N.Y.U. Law Review 1828 (2017) 

Innovation Snowballing and Climate Law” (with Quentin Karpilow), 95 Washington University Law Review 385 (2017) 

Who’s In? Who’s Out? Policy to Address Job Rationing During Recessions” (with William Gui Woolston), 70 Tax Law Review 627 (2017)

Counter-Cyclical Bankruptcy Law: An Efficiency Argument for Employment-Preserving Bankruptcy Rules,” 116 Columbia Law Review 1461 (2016) 

Note, “Reducing Inequality on the Cheap: When Legal Rule Design Should Incorporate Equity as Well as Efficiency” 127 Yale Law Journal 2478 (2014) 

Do Property Rights Promote Investment But Cause Deforestation? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Nicaragua” 65 Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 241 (2013)

Endogeneity in the Environmental Kuznets Curve: An Instrumental Variables Approach” (with C.-Y. Cynthia Lin), 95 American Journal of Agricultural Economics 268 (2013)

Does State Fiscal Relief During Recessions Increase Employment? Evidence from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (with Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, Laura Feiveson, and William Gui Woolston), 4 American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 118 (2012) [data and appendix]

Why Oppose Secession? Evidence of Economic Motivations from the American Civil War” 153 Public Choice 37 (2012)

Working Papers

Getting Infrastructure Built: The Law and Economics of Permitting” 

Efficiency vs. Welfare in Benefit-Cost Analysis: The Case of Government Funding” (with Cass Sunstein)

Procurement and Infrastructure Costs” (with Cailin Slattery and Will Nober)

Popular Writing

The Tax Code’s Achilles’ Heel Is Surprisingly Popular – And That’s a Problem for Taxing the Rich, The Hill, June 19, 2021 (with Edward Fox)

Make the Infrastructure Bill Tell Us Cost of Each Bridge, Road, and Train, The Hill, March 29, 2021 (with Leah Brooks)

A New Way to Increase Economic Opportunity for More Americans, The Hill, January 21, 2021 (with Abigail Pershing)

Green New Deal Is Good Economics, The Hill, February 12, 2019 (with Quentin Karpilow)