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Optimal Nonlinear Redistributive Taxation and Public Good Provision in an Economy with Veblen Effects

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  • LUCA MICHELETTO

Abstract

This paper deals with the consequences of the assumption of negatively interdependent preferences for the shape of the optimal nonlinear income tax and the efficient level of public good provision in a setting where the policy maker maximizes an inequality averse social welfare function and the agents´market ability is private information. The analysis points out that the terms added in the tax formulas due to the presence of Veblen e¤ects might justify a reduction in the optimal marginal tax rates faced by the different individuals. Also, the desir- ability of negative marginal tax rates cannot be ruled out. With respect to the issue of the optimal level of public good provision, we derive a modified Samuelson rule and highlight the fact that the Veblen-based part of the formula might require to distort downwards the efficient level of public good provision.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 13 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 71-96

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:13:y:2011:i:1:p:71-96

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  1. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  2. Alessandro Balestrino, 2009. "Tax avoidance, endogenous social norms, and the comparison income effect," CHILD Working Papers wp15_09, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  3. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1987. "Relative-Income Effects and the Appropriate Level of Public Expenditure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 293-300, June.
  4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2001. "How Much Do We Care About Absolute Versus Relative Income and Consumption?," Working Papers in Economics 63, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2004. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-14, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  6. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2003. "Do You Enjoy Having More Than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods," Working Papers in Economics 100, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  7. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2005. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Government’s and Agents’ Preferences Differ," CESifo Working Paper Series 1429, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Guesnerie, Roger & Seade, Jesus, 1982. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 157-179, March.
  9. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
  10. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  11. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  12. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  13. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  14. Ireland, N. J., 2001. "Optimal income tax in the presence of status effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 193-212, August.
  15. Sara J. Solnick & David Hemenway, 2005. "Are Positional Concerns Stronger in Some Domains than in Others?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 147-151, May.
  16. Corneo, Giacomo, 2002. "The efficient side of progressive income taxation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1359-1368, July.
  17. Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Altruism, jealousy and the theory of optimal non-linear taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-87, February.
  18. Micheletto, Luca, 2008. "Redistribution and optimal mixed taxation in the presence of consumption externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2262-2274, October.
  19. Efe A. Ok & Levent KoÚkesen, 2000. "Negatively interdependent preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 533-558.
  20. Persson, Mats, 1995. " Why Are Taxes So High in Egalitarian Societies?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 569-80, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Eckerstorfer, Paul & Wendner, Ronald, 2013. "Asymmetric and Non-atmospheric Consumption Externalities, and Efficient Consumption Taxation," MPRA Paper 45521, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Paul Eckerstorfer, 2011. "Relative Consumption Concerns and the Optimal Tax Mix," Economics working papers 2011-14, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Taxes, Status Goods, and Piracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3704, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson‐Stenman, 2010. "Positional Concerns In An Olg Model: Optimal Labor And Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1071-1095, November.
  5. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2013. "Veblen’s theory of the leisure class revisited: implications for optimal income taxation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 551-578, September.

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