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Pigou Meets Mirrlees: On the Irrelevance of Tax Distortions for the Second-Best Pigouvian Tax

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  • Bas Jacobs
  • Ruud A. de Mooij

Abstract

This paper extends the Mirrlees (1971) model of optimal income redistribution with optimal corrective taxes to internalize consumption externalities. It is demonstrated that the optimal second-best tax on an externality-generating good should not be corrected for the marginal cost of public funds. The reason is that the marginal cost of public funds equals unity in the optimal tax system, since marginal distortions of taxation are equal to marginal distributional gains. The Pigouvian tax needs to be modified, however, if polluting commodities or environmental quality are more complementary to leisure than non-polluting commodities are.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-02/cesifo1_wp3342.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3342.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3342

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Related research

Keywords: marginal cost of public funds; optimal environmental taxation; optimal redistribution; externalities;

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References

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  1. Diamond, P. A., 1975. "A many-person Ramsey tax rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-342, November.
  2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Mooij, R.A. de, 1994. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152985, Tilburg University.
  3. Don Fullerton & Andrew Leicester & Stephen Smith, 2008. "Environmental Taxes," NBER Working Papers 14197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Wildasin, David E, 1984. "On Public Good Provision with Distortionary Taxation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 227-43, April.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stern, N H, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 119-28, January.
  6. Guy Laroque, 2004. "Indirect Taxation is Superfluous under Separability and Taste Homogeneity : A Simple Proof," Working Papers 2004-23, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Don Fullerton & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1997. "Environmental Taxes and the Double-Dividend Hypothesis: Did You Really Expect Something for Nothing?," NBER Working Papers 6199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "On the marginal cost of public funds and the optimal provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1251-1262, August.
  9. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann & Bruno Van der Linden, 2010. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation with both Extensive and Intensive Responses," CESifo Working Paper Series 3308, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Jenny Ligthart & Frederick Van Der Ploeg, 1999. "Environmental Policy, Tax Incidence, and the Cost of Public Funds," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(2), pages 187-207, March.
  11. Bertil Holmlund & Ann-Sofie Kolm, 2000. "Environmental Tax Reform in a Small Open Economy With Structural Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 315-333, May.
  12. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Alleviating unemployment:: The case for green tax reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1723-1746, October.
  13. Stéphane Gauthier & Guy Laroque, 2008. "Separability and public finance," IFS Working Papers W08/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Sandmo, Agnar, 1998. "Redistribution and the marginal cost of public funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 365-382, December.
  16. Bas Jacobs & Rick van der Ploeg, 2010. "Precautionary Climate Change Policies and Optimal Redistribution," OxCarre Working Papers 049, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  17. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  18. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  19. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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  21. Feldstein, Martin S, 1972. "Distributional Equity and the Optimal Structure of Public Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 32-36, March.
  22. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-48, July.
  23. 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.
  24. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1992. "Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 117-131, Summer.
  25. Pirttila, Jukka, 2000. "A Many-Person Corlett-Hague Tax Rule with Externalities," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 595-605, July.
  26. Tuomala, Matti, 1984. "On the optimal income taxation : Some further numerical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 351-366, April.
  27. Bovenberg, A.L. & Ploeg, F. van der, 1994. "Consequences of environmental tax reform for involuntary unemployment and welfare," Discussion Paper 1994-8, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  28. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Optimal Control of Externalities in the Presence of Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 12339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Jukka Pirttilä & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2010. "Public Provision, Commodity Demand and Hours of Work: An Empirical Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3000, CESifo Group Munich.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bjertnæs, Geir H. & Tsygankova, Marina & Martinsen, Thomas, 2013. "Norwegian climate policy reforms in the presence of an international quota market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 147-158.
  2. Geir H. Bjertnæs, 2013. "Biofuel mandate versus favourable taxation of electric cars. The case of Norway," Discussion Papers 745, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Ian W.H. Parry & John Norregaard & Dirk Heine, 2012. "Environmental Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 12/180, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Rafael Aigner, 2011. "Environmental Taxation and Redistribution Concerns," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_17, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jun 2013.
  5. Aigner, Rafael, 2013. "Environmental Taxation and Redistribution Concerns," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79859, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Bas Jacobs, 2010. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds is One," CESifo Working Paper Series 3250, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Geir H. Bjertnæs, 2013. "Are tax exemptions for electric cars an efficient climate policy measure?," Discussion Papers 743, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  8. Geir H. Bjertnæs & Marina Tsygankova & Thomas Martinsen, 2012. "The double dividend in the presence of abatement technologies and local external effects," Discussion Papers 691, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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