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Tax Riots

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  • Marco Bassetto
  • Christopher Phelan

Abstract

This paper considers an optimal taxation environment where household income is private information, and the government randomly audits and punishes households found to be underreporting. We prove that the optimal mechanism derived using standard mechanism design techniques has a bad equilibrium (a tax riot) where households underreport their incomes, precisely because other households are expected to do so as well. We then consider three alternative approaches to designing a tax scheme when one is worried about bad equilibria. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00484.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 649-669

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:649-669

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  1. Drew Fudenberg, 1995. "When Are Non-Anonymous Players Negligible?," Discussion Papers 1114, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Matthew O. Jackson, 2001. "A crash course in implementation theory," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 655-708.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2005. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000450, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O, 1991. "Bayesian Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 461-77, March.
  5. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Working Papers 615, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Huberto M. Ennis & Todd Keister, 2003. "Government Policy and the Probability of Coordination Failures," Working Papers 0301, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  7. Levine, David K & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1995. "When Are Agents Negligible?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1160-70, December.
  8. Albanesi, Stefania & Sleet, Christopher, 2003. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Krasa, Stefan & Villamil, Anne P, 1994. "Optimal Multilateral Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 167-87, March.
  10. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2005. "Optimal fiscal policy under multiple equilibria," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1359-1377, November.
  11. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Felix J., Bierbrauer, 2011. "On the optimality of optimal income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(5), pages 2105-2116, September.
  2. Tatiana Damjanovic & David Ulph, 2009. "Tax Progressivity, Income Distribution and Tax Non-Compliance," Working Papers 0928, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  3. Bierbrauer, Felix & Sahm, Marco, 2010. "Optimal democratic mechanisms for taxation and public good provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 453-466, August.
  4. Florian Scheuer, 2012. "Optimal Asset Taxes in Financial Markets with Aggregate Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 17817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  6. Narayana Kocherlakota & Christopher Phelan, 2007. "On the Robustness of Laissez-Faire," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000165, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Carrasco, Vinicius & Salgado, Pablo, 2014. "Coordinated strategic defaults and financial fragility in a costly state verification model," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 129-139.
  8. Eduardo Zilberman, 2011. "Audits or Distortions: The Optimal Scheme to Enforce Self-Employment Income Taxes," Textos para discussão 590, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).

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