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Moral Hazard, Income Taxation, And Prospect Theory

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  • Kanbur, Ravi
  • Pirttila, Jukka
  • Tuomala, Matti

Abstract

The standard theory of optimal income taxation under uncertainty has been developed under the assumption that individuals maximize expected utility. However, prospect theory has now been established as an alternative model of individual behaviour, with empirical support. This paper explores the theory of optimal income taxation under uncertainty when individuals behave according to the tenets of prospect theory. It is seen that many of the standard results are either overturned, or modified in interesting ways. The validity of the First Order Approach requires new conditions that are developed in the paper. And when these conditions are valid, it is shown that optimal marginal tax rates on low incomes will tend to be lower under prospect theory than under expected utility theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 127136.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127136

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Related research

Keywords: redistributive taxation; income uncertainty; moral hazard; prospect theory; loss aversion; Public Economics; D81; H21.;

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References

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  1. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059.
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Cited by:
  1. Hsu, Minchung & Yang, C.C., 2013. "Optimal linear and two-bracket income taxes with idiosyncratic earnings risk," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 58-71.
  2. Amit Kothiyal & Vitalie Spinu & Peter Wakker, 2011. "Prospect theory for continuous distributions: A preference foundation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 195-210, June.
  3. Kanbur, Ravi & Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2004. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioral Public Economics," Working Papers 127150, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  4. Xianhua Dai, 2011. "Optimal Taxation under Income Uncertainty," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 121-138, May.
  5. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2010. "Poverty and the Optimal General Income Tax-cum-Audit Policy," Working Papers 02-2010, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
  6. Amedeo Piolatto & Gwenola Trotin, 2011. "Optimal tax enforcement under prospect theory," Working Papers 2011/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  7. Rablen, Matthew D., 2010. "Performance targets, effort and risk-taking," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 687-697, August.
  8. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2011. "Optimal Income Taxation with Uncertain Earnings: A Synthesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3654, CESifo Group Munich.

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