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The politics of progressive income taxation with incentive effects

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  • DE DONDER, Philippe
  • HINDRIKS, Jean

Abstract

This paper studies majority voting over non-linear income taxes when individuals respond to taxation by substituting untaxable leisure to taxable labor (incentive effects). We first show that voting cycle over progressive and regressive taxes is inevitable. This is because the middle-class can always lower its tax burden at the expense of the rich by imposing progressive taxes (convex tax function) while the rich and the poor can reduce their tax burden by imposing regressive taxes (concave tax function). We then investigate three solutions to this cycling problem: (i) reducing the policy space to the policies that are ideal for some voter; (ii) weakening the voting equilibrium concept; (iii) assuming parties also care about the size of their majority. The main results is that progressivity emerges as a voting equilibrium if there is a lack of polarization at the extremes of the income distribution. Interestingly the poor would prefer regressive taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -1673.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-1673

Note: In : Journal of Public Economics, 87, 2491-2505, 2003
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References

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  1. Jean-FranÚois Laslier, 2000. "Interpretation of electoral mixed strategies," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 283-292.
  2. Young, H Peyton, 1990. "Progressive Taxation and Equal Sacrifice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 253-66, March.
  3. De Donder, Philippe & Le Breton, Michel & Truchon, Michel, 2000. "Choosing from a weighted tournament1," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 85-109, July.
  4. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  5. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
  6. Mitra, Tapan & Ok, Efe A. & Kockesen, Levent, 1998. "Popular support for progressive taxation and the relative income hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 69-76, January.
  7. David Epstein, 1997. "Uncovering some subtleties of the uncovered set: Social choice theory and distributive politics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 81-93.
  8. John E. Roemer, 1999. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
  9. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1995. "Estimating labour supply responses using tax reforms," IFS Working Papers W95/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Kramer, Gerald H. & Snyder, James M., 1983. "Fairness, Self-Interest, and the Politics of the Progressive Income Tax," Working Papers 498, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  11. Francisco Marhuenda & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 1995. "Popular Support For Progressive Taxation," Working Papers. Serie AD 1995-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  12. Hettich, Walter & Winer, Stanley L, 1988. "Economic and Political Foundations of Tax Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 701-12, September.
  13. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  14. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  15. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
  16. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1995. "Popular support for progressive taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 319-324, June.
  17. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  18. Philippe De Donder & Jean Hindriks, 1998. "The political economy of targeting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 177-200, April.
  19. Kramer, Gerald H., 1977. "A dynamical model of political equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 310-334, December.
  20. Laslier, Jean-Francois & Trannoy, Alain & Van Der Straeten, Karine, 2003. "Voting under ignorance of job skills of unemployed: the overtaxation bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 595-626, March.
  21. Philippe De Donder, 2000. "Majority voting solution concepts and redistributive taxation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 601-627.
  22. De Donder, Philippe & Le Breton, Michel & Truchon, Michel, 1998. "Choosing from a Weighted Tournament," Cahiers de recherche 9815, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  23. Laffond G. & Laslier J. F. & Le Breton M., 1993. "The Bipartisan Set of a Tournament Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 182-201, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Klor, 2002. "A Positive Model of Overlapping Income Taxation in a Federation of States," Wallis Working Papers WP32, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  2. Rafael Salas & Juan Rodríguez, 2013. "Popular support for social evaluation functions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 985-1014, April.
  3. Jean Hindriks, 2000. "Is There a Demand for Income Tax Progressivity?," Working Papers 415, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  4. Jenny de Freitas, 2009. "A probabilistic voting model of progressive taxation with incentive effects," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 190(3), pages 9-26, September.
  5. Klor, Esteban F., 2006. "A positive model of overlapping income taxation in a federation of states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 703-723, May.
  6. Rafael Salas & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2010. "Popular support for egalitarian social welfare," Working Papers 171, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  7. DE DONDER, Philippe & HINDRIKS, Jean, 2003. "Majority support for progressive income taxation with corner preferences," CORE Discussion Papers 2003002, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder, 2010. "Repeated electoral competition over nonlinear income tax schedules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 535-574, October.
  9. Soumyanetra Munshi, 2011. "On existence of pure strategy equilibrium with endogenous income," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 1-37, June.
  10. Bierbrauer, F.J. & Boyer, F.J., 2011. "Political competition and Mirrleesian income taxation: A first pass," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1108, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  11. Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer, 2014. "Efficiency, Welfare, and Political Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 4814, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau, 2007. "A Positive Theory of Income Taxation," Departmental Working Papers 200706, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  13. John Roemer, 2012. "The political economy of income taxation under asymmetric information: the two-type case," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 181-199, March.

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