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On Optimal Commodity Taxes When Consumption Is Time Consuming

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  • FIROUZ GAHVARI

Abstract

This paper studies the problem of optimal taxation of commodities when consumption is a time-consuming activity. This is done under two distinct preference separability assumptions: between goods and labor supply, and between goods and leisure. It argues that with the labor separability, the traditional uniform taxation results of optimal tax theory continue to hold. With leisure separability, on the other hand, consumption time is a major ingredient of optimal tax rates. However, the relationship between consumption time and optimal tax rates depends crucially on the representation of the economy. In representative consumer economies, time differences determine the pattern of optimal tax rates so that goods whose consumption take more time are subjected to higher tax rates. When individuals have different earning abilities, redistributive, incentive, and efficiency considerations also come into play resulting in a complex relationship. The paper derives formulas for optimal commodity taxes in this case on the basis of three different tax structures: linear commodity taxes in combination with linear and nonlinear income taxes, and nonlinear commodity taxes in combination with nonlinear income taxes. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 9 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:1-27

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Cited by:
  1. Robin Boadway & Firouz Gahvari, 2006. "Optimal Taxation with Consumption Time as a Leisure or Labor Substitute," Working Papers 1068, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Borger, Bruno De, 2011. "Optimal congestion taxes in a time allocation model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 79-95, January.
  3. Russo, Antonio, 2012. "Pricing of Transport Networks, Redistribution and Optimal Taxation," TSE Working Papers 12-353, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  4. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2013. "Optimal Sales Tax Rebates and Tax Enforcement Consumers," Working Papers 1302, University of Windsor, Department of Economics.

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