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An Optimal Tax System

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

A notable feature and principal virtue of Tax by Design is its system-wide perspective on different elements of the tax system. This review essay builds on this trait and offers a more explicit foundation for the report’s general approach, drawing on a distribution-neutral methodology that is developed in other work. This technique is then employed to illuminate and extend Tax by Design’s analysis regarding the VAT, environmental taxation, wealth transfer taxation, and income transfers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17214.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17214

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References

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  1. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  3. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Optimal Income Transfers," NBER Working Papers 12284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Taxing Leisure Complements," NBER Working Papers 14397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. West, Sarah E. & Williams III, Roberton C., 2007. "Optimal taxation and cross-price effects on labor supply: Estimates of the optimal gas tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 593-617, April.
  6. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
  7. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevance of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion to Government Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 159-175, Fall.
  8. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  9. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  10. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Evaluating In-Work Benefit Reform: The Working Families Tax Credit in the U.K," JCPR Working Papers 160, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Taxing Leisure Complements," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1065-1071, October.
  12. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2002. "On the Superiority of Corrective Taxes to Quantity Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, January.
  13. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2010. "Economics of estate taxation: a brief review of theory and evidence," NBER Working Papers 15741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-78, Winter.
  16. Guy Laroque, 2004. "Indirect Taxation is Superfluous under Separability and Taste Homogeneity : A Simple Proof," Working Papers 2004-23, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  17. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1984. "Quasi-Pareto Social Improvements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1033-50, December.
  18. Kaplow Louis, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, September.
  19. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  20. 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.
  21. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. " Distributional Objectives Should Affect Taxes but not Program Choice or Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 264-84.
  22. Aled ab Iorwerth & John Whalley, 2002. "Efficiency considerations and the exemption of food from sales and value added taxes," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 166-182, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Haradhan Kumar Mohajan, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Taxes Due to Health Effect," KASBIT Journal of Management & Social Science, Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 4, pages 1-19, December.

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