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Should the Government's Allocation Branch be Concerned about the Distortionary Cost of Taxation and Distributive Effects?

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

Does taxation for public goods generally involve a distortionary cost? Are Pigouvian taxes desirable because they raise revenue without having to resort to distortionary taxes? Should decisions concerning public goods or Pigouvian taxes depend on whether their incidence is regressive? The answer to these questions may be negative, contrary to conventional wisdom, if one considers a different and arguably more natural method of achieving budget balance than is typically assumed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4566.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
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Publication status: published as The Optimal Supply of Public Goods and the Distortionary Cost of Taxation, National Tax Journal, Vol.49, No.4, pp.513-533(1996).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4566

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  1. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
  2. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach, 1982. "The Theory of Excess Burden and Optimal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. 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.
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  7. Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Public Good Provision with Limited Lump-Sum Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 153-66, March.
  8. Christiansen, Vidar, 1981. "Evaluation of Public Projects under Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 447-57, July.
  9. Louis Kaplow, 1985. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," NBER Working Papers 1679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wildasin, David E, 1984. "On Public Good Provision with Distortionary Taxation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 227-43, April.
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  14. Ballard, Charles L. & Medema, Steven G., 1993. "The marginal efficiency effects of taxes and subsidies in the presence of externalities : A computational general equilibrium approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 199-216, September.
  15. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1980. "Optimal Corrective Taxes or Subsidies When Revenue Raising Imposes an Excess Burden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 744-51, September.
  16. Casler, Stephen D. & Rafiqui, Aisha, 1993. "Evaluating Fuel Tax Equity: Direct and Indirect Distributional Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 197-205, June.
  17. Oakland, William H., 1987. "Theory of public goods," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 9, pages 485-535 Elsevier.
  18. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-27, March.
  19. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-08, March.
  20. Shavell, Steven, 1981. "A Note on Efficiency vs. Distributional Equity in Legal Rulemaking: Should Distributional Equity Matter Given Optimal Income Taxation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 414-18, May.
  21. Kaplow, Louis, 1989. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 139-54, June.
  22. Mayshar, Joram, 1990. "On measures of excess burden and their application," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 263-289, December.
  23. Cordes, Joseph J. & Nicholson, Eric & Sammartino, Frank, 1990. "Raising Revenue by Taxing Activities with Social Costs," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(3), pages 343-56, September.
  24. King, Mervyn A., 1986. "A pigovian rule for the optimum provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 273-291, August.
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