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Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice

  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Matthew Weinzierl
  • Danny Yagan

The optimal design of a tax system is a topic that has long fascinated economic theorists and flummoxed economic policymakers. This paper explores the interplay between tax theory and tax policy. It identifies key lessons policymakers might take from the academic literature on how taxes ought to be designed, and it discusses the extent to which these lessons are reflected in actual tax policy.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.23.4.147
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2304_Mankiw_Weinzeirl_Yagain_sim_files.zip
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2304_Mankiw_Weinzierl_Yagan_appendix.pdf
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 147-74

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:23:y:2009:i:4:p:147-74
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.4.147
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Martin Feldstein, 1993. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the1986 Tax Reform Act," NBER Working Papers 4496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Gender-Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40, May.
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  6. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
  7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2009. "The Optimal Taxation of Height: A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-139, Harvard Business School.
  8. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  10. Marek Kapicka, 2006. "Optimal Income Taxation with Human Capital Accumulation and Limited Record Keeping," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 612-639, October.
  11. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  12. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Taxing Leisure Complements," NBER Working Papers 14397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Dynamic optimal taxation with private information," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 140, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," NBER Working Papers 12880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059, July.
  17. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Desirability of Commodity Taxation under Non-Linear Income Taxation and Heterogeneous Tastes," NBER Working Papers 8029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Albanesi, Stefania, 2006. "Optimal Taxation of Entrepreneurial Capital with Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 5647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Naito, Hisahiro, 1999. "Re-examination of uniform commodity taxes under a non-linear income tax system and its implication for production efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 165-188, February.
  21. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  22. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2008. "Age-related Optimal Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 45-71, 03.
  24. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  25. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
  26. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  27. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  28. repec:oup:restud:v:78:y::i:4:p:1490-1518 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Borys Grochulski & Tomasz Piskorski, 2007. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Working Paper 06-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  30. James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Taxing Consumption and Other Sins," NBER Working Papers 12730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  32. Salanié, Bernard, 2011. "The Economics of Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262016346, June.
  33. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
  34. William Vickrey, 1939. "Averaging of Income for Income-Tax Purposes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47, pages 379.
  35. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2004. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," NBER Working Papers 10792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. 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.
  37. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
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  40. Michel Strawczynski & Momi Dahan, 2000. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 681-686, June.
  41. Loukas Karabarbounis & Andrea Ichino & Alberto Alesina, 2008. "Gender based Taxation," 2008 Meeting Papers 500, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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