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Randomization in Optimal Income Tax Schedules

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  • Dagobert L. Brito
  • Jonathan H. Hamilton
  • Steven M. Slutsky
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

The optimal income tax problem, since it requires self-selection constraints which define nonconvex feasible sets, is one of the many problems in economics for which randomization in the solution may be desirable. For a two-class economy. we characterize the optimal random tax schedules and we present necessary and sufficient conditions for the desirability of local randomization. The standard single-crossing restriction on preferences is not required for these results. We also show that randomization can be beneficial without violating (ex post as well as ex ante) horizontal equity. Lastly, we give an example to demonstrate that the gains from randomization may be large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3289.

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Date of creation: Mar 1990
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, vol. 56, (1995), pp. 189-223
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3289

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  1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  2. Brito, D.L. & Hamilton, J.H. & Slutsky, S.M. & Stiglitz, J.E., 1989. "Randomization In Optimal Income Tax Schedules," Papers 89-6, Florida - College of Business Administration.
  3. 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.
  4. Sadka, Efraim, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 261-67, June.
  5. John C. Fellingham & Young K. Kwon & D. Paul Newman, 1984. "Ex ante Randomization in Agency Models," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 290-301, Summer.
  6. Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-52, December.
  7. Brito, Dagobert L, et al, 1990. "Pareto Efficient Tax Structures," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 61-77, January.
  8. Guesnerie, Roger & Seade, Jesus, 1982. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 157-179, March.
  9. J C Fellingham & Y K Kwon & D P Newman, 2010. "Ex Ante Randomization in Agency Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1953, David K. Levine.
  10. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria With Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2069, David K. Levine.
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