Edward McCaffery

Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law and Professor of Law, Economics and Political Science
Last Updated: July 22, 2024

Academic Paper Websites:

An internationally recognized expert in tax law, Edward McCaffery studies tax policy, tax structures, public finance theory including behavioral public finance, as well as property law and theory, intellectual property, and law and economics. He teaches Federal Income Taxation, Property, Intellectual Property, and Tax Law and Policy at USC.

McCaffery also teaches Corporate Taxation, Federal Income Taxation, Partnership Taxation, Property and a Tax Policy seminar.

McCaffery’s scholarship has been widely cited by economists, government officials, journalists and policy analysts.  Among his publications are his recent books, Behavioral Public Finance (which McCaffery co-edited); Fair Not Flat:  How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler, which proposes a tax system based on taxing spending rather than income; and Taxing Women, which examines how working women suffer under current tax laws. Other publications include Rethinking the Vote: The Politics and Prospects of American Election Reform, which he co-edited. Another book, A New Understanding of Property, will be published later this year.

In an effort to reach a wider audience to explain basic concepts of tax and public finance, McCaffery created the People’s Tax Page and a series of animated cartoons featuring Sabrina the Unicorn.

McCaffery is a frequent commentator on a variety of tax issues in the news. To read his pieces that have been posted on CNN and The Huffington Post, please click on the links below:


Huffington Post

Recent commentary:

As America files its taxes, Trump’s only worry is disclosure

On taxes, Ocasio-Cortez has the right impulse but the wrong remedy

Yes, Democrats can demand Trump’s tax returns, but they should do more

In Trump and Kushner’s world, other people pay taxes


His other writings include “Cognitive Theory and Tax,” “Framing the Jury: Cognitive Perspectives on Pain and Suffering Awards” (with Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Spitzer), and “Slouching Towards Equality: Gender Discrimination, Market Efficiency, and Social Change.”  Dean McCaffery has served as an official consultant to the Russian Federation to help design a comprehensive tax code.  Prior to joining the USC faculty, Professor McCaffery practiced law with a San Francisco law firm.

A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, Professor McCaffery received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree in economics from USC.  He served as a clerk to Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz of the New Jersey Supreme Court and was an attorney with Titchell, Maltman, Mark, Bass, Ohleyer & Mishell before joining the USC Law faculty in 1989.  He held the Maurice Jones, Jr., Professorship in Law from 1998 to 2004 and has served as a visiting professor of law and economics at the California Institute of Technology since 1994.  He has chaired the USC Institute on Federal Taxation since 1997, and he found the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics and served as its director from 2000 to 2003.  He is an elected fellow of the American Law Institute (ALI) and the American College of Tax Counsel.  Professor McCaffery also is counsel to the Los Angeles office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.