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The Personal Income Tax Structure: Theory and Policy

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  • John Creedy

Abstract

There is now a large and complex literature on optimal income taxation, within the context of second-best welfare economics. This paper considers the potential role of this analysis in the practical design of direct tax and transfer structures. It is stressed that few results are robust, even in simple models, in view of the important role played by alternative social welfare functions, the nature of the distribution of abilities and the preferences of individuals. In view of these negative results, it is suggested that a range of empirical tax analyses, capturing particular issues, can provide helpful guidance for policy analysts. Numerical illustrations are provided, paying attention to the role of a ‘top’ marginal tax rate applied to higher-income groups. In particular, behavioural microsimulation models can be used to examine marginal direct tax reform. Such models have the advantages of capturing the full extent of population heterogeneity and the complexity of the tax structure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1063.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1063

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Keywords: Personal income Tax Structure;

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References

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  1. Creedy, John, 1998. "The Optimal Linear Income Tax Model: Utility or Equivalent Income?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 99-110, February.
  2. Madden, David, 1996. "Marginal Tax Reform and the Specification of Consumer Demand Systems," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 556-67, October.
  3. Chris Heady, 1993. "Optimal taxation as a guide to tax policy: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 15-41, February.
  4. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  5. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-78, Winter.
  6. Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Buttrick, Steve & Duncan, Denvil, 2009. "Global Reform of Personal Income Taxation, 1981-2005: Evidence from 189 Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 4228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jean Hindriks & Gareth D. Myles, 2006. "Intermediate Public Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262083442.
  8. Myles, Gareth D., 2000. "On the optimal marginal rate of income tax," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 113-119, January.
  9. Creedy, John, 2001. "Tax Modelling," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 77(237), pages 189-202, June.
  10. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael & Tuomala, Matti, 1994. "Optimal non-linear income taxation for the alleviation of income-poverty," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1613-1632, October.
  11. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Measuring Welfare Changes In Labour Supply Models," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(6), pages 664-685, December.
  12. Bruce Bradbury, 2004. "Targeting social assistance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 305-324, September.
  13. John Creedy, 2001. "Indirect tax reform and the role of exemptions," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 457-486., December.
  14. Tuomala, Matti, 1985. " Simplified Formulae for Optimal Linear Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(4), pages 668-72.
  15. John Creedy, 2000. "Labour supply, welfare and the earnings distribution," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 4(3), pages 134-151, September.
  16. 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.
  17. Nigar Hashimzade & Gareth D. Myles, 2007. "Structure of the optimal income tax in the quasi-linear model," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 3(1), pages 5-33.
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Cited by:
  1. Misch, Florian & Gemmell, Norman & Kneller, Richard, 2014. "Complementarity in Models of Public Finance and Endogenous Growth," Working Paper Series 3136, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

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