IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Taxing Leisure Complements




"Ever since Corlett and Hague, it has been understood that it tends to be optimal on second-best grounds to (relatively) tax complements to leisure and subsidize substitutes because doing so helps to offset the distorting effect of taxation on labor supply. Yet, Atkinson and Stiglitz's optimal income/commodity tax analysis claims to demonstrate the opposite, and derivations in leading texts on optimal taxation offer opposing conclusions regarding the sign of optimal deviation of commodity taxes from uniformity. It is demonstrated that the optimality of relatively taxing leisure complements is indeed correct, and conflicting results are explained." ("JEL" H21, H24) Copyright (c) 2009 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Taxing Leisure Complements," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1065-1071, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:48:y:2010:i:4:p:1065-1071

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
    2. West, Sarah E. & Williams III, Roberton C., 2007. "Optimal taxation and cross-price effects on labor supply: Estimates of the optimal gas tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 593-617, April.
    3. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
    4. Laroque, Guy R., 2005. "Indirect taxation is superfluous under separability and taste homogeneity: a simple proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 141-144, April.
    5. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    6. 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.
    7. Dorfman, Robert, 1969. "An Economic Interpretation of Optimal Control Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(5), pages 817-831, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Bridgman, 2016. "Engines of Leisure," BEA Working Papers 0137, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    2. Junichi Minagawa & Thorsten Upmann, 2016. "Optimal Taxation under a Consumption Target," CESifo Working Paper Series 6067, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Ming Chang & Hsiao-Ping Peng, 2012. "Laffer effect, gross substitution, marginal cost of public funds and the level property of public good provision," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 650-659, October.
    4. Louis Kaplow, 2011. "An Optimal Tax System," NBER Working Papers 17214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe, 2014. "Regulating harmless activity to fight crime," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 79-95, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:48:y:2010:i:4:p:1065-1071. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.