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The Mirrlees Review


  • Martin Feldstein


The Mirrlees Review is an ambitious and comprehensive analysis of the British tax system with detailed recommendations for reform. This review essay focuses on those issues that are also likely to be of interest to an American reader. The Review has the technical sophistication that readers would expect from a team of ten economists, chaired by James Mirrlees, the distinguished theorist who received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the theory of optimal taxation. But it is written for a broader audience, explaining concepts like deadweight loss and the elasticity of tax revenue with respect to tax rates and doing so without any mathematics. (JEL D64, E21, E62, H24, H25)

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 2012. "The Mirrlees Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 781-790, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:50:y:2012:i:3:p:781-90 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.50.3.781

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    2. 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.
    3. Myles, Gareth D., 1989. "Ramsey tax rules for economies with imperfect competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 95-115, February.
    4. Anthony B. Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2014. "Chartbook of economic inequality," Working Papers 324, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    5. Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. C. Benassi & E. Randon, 2015. "Optimal Commodity Taxation and Income Distribution," Working Papers wp1001, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2012. "Revenue-Maximising Elasticities of Taxable Income in Multi-Rate Income Tax Structures," Working Paper Series 2431, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    3. Bruno Martorano, 2016. "Taxation and inequality in developing countries: Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 098, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2014. "Taxation and inequality in the Americas: Changing the fiscal contract?," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 7, pages 193-237 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Bruno Martorano, 2016. "Taxation and inequality in developing countries: Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 098, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Jonathan Pincus, 2013. "The Power to Tax, 33 Years Later," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 89-104.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies


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