Identification of Preferences and Evaluation of Income Tax Policy
AbstractThe merits of alternative income tax policies depend on the population distribution of preferences for income, leisure, and public goods. Standard theory, which supposes that persons want more income and more leisure, does not predict how they resolve the tension between these desires. Empirical studies of labor supply have been numerous but have not shed much light on the matter. A persistent problem is that empirical researchers have imposed strong preference assumptions that lack foundation. This paper examines anew the problem of inference on preferences and considers the implications for comparison of tax policies. I first perform a basic revealed-preference analysis that imposes no assumptions on the preference distribution beyond the presumption that persons prefer more income and leisure. This shows that observation of a person’s labor supply under a status quo tax policy may bound his labor supply under a proposed policy or may have no implications, depending on the shapes of the two tax schedules and the location of status quo labor supply. I next explore the identifying power of two assumptions restricting the population distribution of income-leisure preferences. One assumes that groups of persons who face different choice sets have the same distribution of preferences, while the other adds restrictions on the shape of this distribution. I then address utilitarian policy comparison with partial knowledge of preferences. Partial knowledge of preferences implies partial knowledge of the welfare function. Hence, it may not be possible to rank policies.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17755.
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Note: LS PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
- C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2012-02-01 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2012-02-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-LTV-2012-02-01 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-PBE-2012-02-01 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2012-02-01 (Public Finance)
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.:
- Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009.
"The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review,"
NBER Working Papers
15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
- Soren Blomquist & Whitney Newey, 2002.
"Nonparametric Estimation with Nonlinear Budget Sets,"
Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2455-2480, November.
- Soren Blomquist & Whitney Newey, 1999. "Nonparametric Estimation with Nonlinear Budget Sets," Working papers 99-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Richard Blundell & Antoine Bozio & Guy Laroque, 2011.
"Extensive and intensive margins of labour supply: working hours in the US, UK and France,"
IFS Working Papers
W11/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Blundell, Richard & Bozio, Antoine & Laroque, Guy, 2011. "Extensive and Intensive Margins of Labour Supply: Working Hours in the US, UK and France," IZA Discussion Papers 6051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
- Richard Blundell & Andrew Shephard, 2011.
"Employment, Hours of Work and the Optimal Taxation of Low Income Families,"
1307, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
- Richard Blundell & Andrew Shephard, 2012. "Employment, Hours of Work and the Optimal Taxation of Low-Income Families," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 481-510.
- Blundell, Richard & Shephard, Andrew, 2011. "Employment, Hours of Work and the Optimal Taxation of Low Income Families," IZA Discussion Papers 5745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Richard Blundell & Andrew Shephard, 2008. "Employment, hours of work and the optimal taxation of low income families," IFS Working Papers W08/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Beggs, S. & Cardell, S. & Hausman, J., 1981. "Assessing the potential demand for electric cars," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.