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Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice

Listed author(s):
  • 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: 147-174

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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2008. "Age-related Optimal Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 45-71, 03.
  4. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587.
  5. 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.
  6. Loukas Karabarbounis & Andrea Ichino & Alberto Alesina, 2008. "Gender based Taxation," 2008 Meeting Papers 500, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. William Vickrey, 1939. "Averaging of Income for Income-Tax Purposes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47, pages 379-379.
  11. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
  14. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 120-125, May.
  15. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1587-1621, 09.
  16. 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..
  17. Grochulski, Borys & Piskorski, Tomasz, 2010. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 908-943, May.
  18. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  19. 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 261-278, June.
  20. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  21. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
  22. Marek Kapička, 2015. "Optimal Mirrleesean Taxation in a Ben-Porath Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 219-248, April.
  23. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Taxing Leisure Complements," NBER Working Papers 14397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
  25. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. repec:oup:restud:v:78:y::i:4:p:1490-1518 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. 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.
  28. Salanié, Bernard, 2011. "The Economics of Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262016346, July.
  29. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  30. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl, 2010. "The Optimal Taxation of Height: A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 155-176, February.
  31. 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.
  32. James R. Hines Jr., 2007. "Taxing Consumption and Other Sins," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 49-68, Winter.
  33. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
  34. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059, April.
  35. 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.
  36. Albanesi, Stefania, 2006. "Optimal Taxation of Entrepreneurial Capital with Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 5647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. 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.
  38. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  39. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  40. 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.
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