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A Contribution to the Theory of Optimal Utilitarian Income Taxation

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  • Martin Hellwig

    ()
    (Max-Planck-Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

The paper provides a new proof of the positivity of the optimal marginal income tax, in a more general model, under weaker assumptions. The analysis focusses on the (weakly) relaxed problem in which upward incentive constraints are replaced by a monotonicity condition on consumption. Without upward incentive constraints, nonnegativity of the optimal marginal income tax is straightforward; strict positivity follows from an assumption on the desirability of redistributing leisure. The resulting allocation is incentive compatible, and is optimal for the original income tax problem. The argument is the same for distributions with finitely many types and for a continuous type distribution.

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File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2005_23online.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2005_23.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2005_23

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Keywords: Optimal Income Taxation; Utilitarian Welfare Maximization; Redistribution;

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  1. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  2. Brunner, Johann K., 1993. "A note on the optimum income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 445-451, March.
  3. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  4. Martin Hellwig, 2008. "A Maximum Principle for Control Problems with Monotonicity Constraints," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  5. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  6. Guesnerie Roger & Seade Jesus, 1981. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8118, CEPREMAP.
  7. Stefan Homburg, 2001. "The Optimal Income Tax: Restatement and Extensions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(4), pages 363-395, November.
  8. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-67, March.
  9. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  11. Weymark, John A., 1986. "A reduced-form optimal nonlinear income tax problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-217, July.
  12. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "The undesirability of randomized income taxation under decreasing risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 791-816, April.
  13. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "The Design Of Income Maintenance Programs," Papers, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program 74, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  14. Martin Hellwig, 2007. "A Contribution to the Theory of Optimal Utilitarian Income Taxation," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2007_2, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  15. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  16. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
  17. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2006. "Should Low Skilled Work be Subsidized ?," Working Papers, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique 2006-08, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  18. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  19. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
  20. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  21. Seade, Jesus, 1982. "On the Sign of the Optimum Marginal Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 637-43, October.
  22. Christiansen, Vidar, 1983. " Some Important Properties of the Social Marginal Utility of Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(3), pages 359-71.
  23. Hellwig, Martin F., 1986. "The optimal linear income tax revisited," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 163-179, November.
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