A Characterization of Optimal Feasible Tax Mechanism
AbstractThis paper is motivated by a practical income (or wealth) taxation problem: For a public good economy where the provision of public goods is to be financed by income taxes collected from individuals, what is the optimal feasible tax mechanism when a social planner is relatively uninformed of the incomes or endowments of the individuals? This kind of problem, the optimal private provision of public goods, is a typical Bayesian mechanism design question for a small economy such as a club. In this case, the social planner has to take into account not only the individuals' incentive to report their income truthfully, but also the (individual) feasibility of the designed tax mechanism in the sense that each individual's tax payment should be consistent with their ability to pay. We employ the feasible implementation model used in Hurwicz, Maskin, and Postlewaite  to study such an optimal taxation problem. It has been assumed in the standard model of optimal labor income taxation literature, pioneered by Mirrlees , that there is a continuum of individuals and the (labor) income is observable to avoid the feasibility problem. Also, the literature on private provision of public goods has paid little attention to the continuous provision of public goods and the constrained efficiency under incomplete information. This paper considers a finite economy where public goods are provided continuously. Using a simple Bayesian model, we provide the full characterization of the two-agent, two-type optimal feasible tax mechanism and its properties. We find that (i) when the total endowment of the economy is relatively low enough or high enough, the first best feasible taxation can be obtained; (ii) the second best feasible tax mechanism requires a poor agent to pay relatively more than a rich agent, that is, it is regressive; and (iii) the tax mechanism is increasing in the sense that the agent's tax payment increases with his endowment. We also provide a comparative statics analysis. For the case of more than two agents, under certain mild assumptions we give some partial results similar to (i) and (ii) above. In addition, we find the optimal feasible tax mechanism for the corresponding infinitely large economy
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings with number 551.
Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Phone: 1 212 998 3820
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/pastmeetings.asp
More information through EDIRC
optimal taxation; feasibility; informational rent; second best;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Guoqiang Tian, 1999. "Bayesian implementation in exchange economies with state dependent preferences and feasible sets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 99-119.
- Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
- Nir Dagan & Roberto Serrano & Oscar Volij, 1999.
"Feasible Implementation of Taxation Methods,"
Economic theory and game theory
009, Nir Dagan.
- Nir Dagan & Roberto Serrano & Oscar Volij, 1995. "Feasible Implementation of Taxation Methods," Working Papers 95-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Volij, Oscar & Dagan, Nir & Serrano, Roberto, 1999. "Feasible Implementation of Taxation Methods," Staff General Research Papers 5246, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Maskin, Eric & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2002.
Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,
in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 237-288
- Lu Hong, 1996. "Bayesian implementation in exchange economies with state dependent feasible sets and private information," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 433-444.
- Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
- Matthew O. Jackson, 2001.
"A crash course in implementation theory,"
Social Choice and Welfare,
Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 655-708.
- John O. Ledyard & Thomas R. Palfrey, 1999. "A Characterization of Interim Efficiency with Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 435-448, March.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1977.
"Incentive Compatability and the Bargaining Problem,"
284, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
- d'Aspremont, Claude & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1979. "Incentives and incomplete information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 25-45, February.
- Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
- Maskin, Eric, 1999.
"Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38, January.
- Eric Maskin, 1998. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1829, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Implementation theory," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 61, pages 2271-2326 Elsevier.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987.
"Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics,"
Handbook of Public Economics,
in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gradstein, Mark, 1994. "Efficient Provision of a Discrete Public Good," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 877-97, November.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.