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Negative marginal tax rates and heterogeneity

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  • Philippe Choné
  • Guy Laroque

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

Abstract

Heterogeneity is likely to be an important determinant of the shape of optimal tax schemes. This article addresses the issue in a model � la Mirrlees with a continuum of agents. The agents differ in their productivities and opportunity costs of work, but their labor supplies depend only on a unidimensional combination of their two characteristics. Conditions are given under which the standard result that marginal tax rates are everywhere non-negative holds. This is in particular the case when work opportunity costs are distributed independently of productivities. But one can also get negative marginal tax rates: economies where negative tax rates are optimal at the bottom of the income distribution are studied, and a numerical illustration is given, based on UK data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W09/12.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:09/12

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Keywords: Optimal taxation; heterogeneity; welfare.;

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  1. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1449-1477, August.
  2. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Beaudry, Paul & Blackorby, Charles, 2006. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 766, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2003. "Financing education using optimal redistributive taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2549-2569, October.
  5. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU , Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria del mar, . "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1566, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. 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.
  7. Katherine Cuff, 2000. "Optimality of workfare with heterogeneous preferences," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 149-174, February.
  8. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1987. "A necessary and sufficient condition for rationalizability in a quasi-linear context," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 191-200, April.
  9. Aaron S. Edlin & Chris Shannon, 1998. "Strict Single Crossing and the Strict Spence-Mirrlees Condition: A Comment on Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
  10. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  11. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  12. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  13. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Abraham, Arpad & Koehne, Sebastian & Pavoni, Nicola, 2012. "Optimal income taxation with asset accumulation," MPRA Paper 38629, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Optimal redistributive taxation with both extensive and intensive responses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1770-1805.
  3. VALLETTA, Giacomo, 2012. "Health, fairness and taxation," CORE Discussion Papers 2012016, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann & Bruno Van der Linden, 2012. "Signing Distortions in Optimal Tax and other Adverse Selection Problems with Random Participation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3766, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Scheuer, Florian, 2013. "Adverse selection in credit markets and regressive profit taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1333-1360.
  6. Ooghe, Erwin & Peichl, Andreas, 2014. "Fair and efficent taxation under partial control," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-002, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Florian Scheuer & Casey Rothschild, 2011. "Rent Seeking and Optimal Taxation," 2011 Meeting Papers 1262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne lehmann & Bruno Van Der Linden, 2012. "Signing distortions in optimal tax or other adverse selection models with random participation," THEMA Working Papers 2012-27, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  9. Benjamin B. Lockwood & Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2012. "De Gustibus non est Taxandum: Heterogeneity in Preferences and Optimal Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 17784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Valletta Giacomo, 2012. "Health, Fairness and Taxation," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

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