Lily Batchelder

Lily Batchelder
Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy (NYU School of Law)

Lily Batchelder specializes in taxation, with a particular emphasis on income taxation, wealth transfer taxation, tax incentives, and social insurance. Her research centers on intersections between tax and social policy in addressing poverty, economic inequality, economic insecurity, and barriers to intergenerational mobility. She is the Co-Director of the Furman Academic Program, and Director of the Leadership Program in Tax Law and Fiscal Policy.

Apart from her academic work, Batchelder regularly advises policymakers, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations on policy matters. She is the Chair of Neighbors Together, a member of the advisory board of the Center for Economic Progress, and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Recently, she testified before the U.S. Joint Economic Committee on taxation and income volatility, and the Senate Committee on Finance on wealth transfer tax reform.

Batchelder joined the faculty from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she focused on transactional and tax policy matters. Previously she served as a Wiener Fellow at the Wiener Center on Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government; Director of Community Affairs and Campaign Manager for a New York state senator; and Client Advocate for Neighbors Together.

Batchelder received her A.B. in Political Science with honors and distinction from Stanford University, where she received a Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. She received her M.P.P. in Microeconomics and Human Services from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she was a Kennedy Fellow and President of the Kennedy School Student Government. She earned her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was twice awarded the Clifford L. Porter Prize for Best Paper on Taxation. While there, she was founder and director of the Pro Bono Network, executive editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, director of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Project, and a member of the Yale Law Journal.

Date Publication/Paper

Batchelder, L., Nichols, A. & Toder, E. 2009. $750 Billion Misspent? Getting More from Tax Incentives Urban Institute Press


Batchelder, L. 2008. Reform Options for the Estate Tax System: Targeting Unearned Income Testimony before the United States Committee on Finance March 12
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Batchelder, L. 2008. Taxing Privilege More Effectively: Replacing the Estate Tax with an Inheritance Tax in The Path to Prosperity: Hamilton Project Ideas on Income Security, Education, and Taxes  (Jason Bordoff and Jason Furman, ed., Brookings Institution Press)

Batchelder, L. 2008. What Should Society Expect from Heirs? A Proposal for a Comprehensive Inheritance Tax. Tax Law Review 
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Batchelder, L. 2007. Household Income Volatility and Tax Policy: Helping More and Hurting Less Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee Feb. 28
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Batchelder, L. 2007. Taxing Privilege More Effectively: Replacing the Estate Tax with an Inheritance Tax Hamilton Project Discussion Paper
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Batchelder, L., Goldberg Jr., F.T. & Orszag, P.R. 2006. Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Tax Credits Stanford Law Review, Vol. 59, Issue 1.
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Each year the federal individual income tax code provides over $500 billion worth of incentives intended to encourage socially beneficial activities, such as charitable contributions, homeownership, and education. This is an enormous investment, exceeding our budget for national defense and amounting to about 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The design of these tax incentives is an immensely important policy matter. Yet despite their efficiency rationale, little attention has been paid to the question of what economic efficiency implies about the form these tax incentives should take.


Batchelder, L. 2003. Taxing the Poor: Income Averaging Reconsidered 40 Harvard Journal on Legislation 395.

This Article presents an original empirical analysis demonstrating the disproportionate burden taxation of annual income places upon low-income families. The author proposes two simple income averaging devices to redress this effect: averaging the Earned Income Tax Credit over a two-year period and carrying back the standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions.