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On optimal income taxation with heterogeneous work preferences

Author

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  • Ritva Tarkiainen
  • Matti Tuomala

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of optimal income taxation when individuals are assumed to differ with respect to their earnings potential and work preferences. A numerical method for solving this two-dimensional problem has been developed. We assume an additive utility function, and utilitarian social objectives. Rather than solve the first order conditions associated with the problem, we directly compute the best tax function which can be written in terms of a second order B-spline function. Among our findings are that marginal tax rates are higher than one might anticipate, and that very little bunching occurs at the optimum.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ritva Tarkiainen & Matti Tuomala, 2007. "On optimal income taxation with heterogeneous work preferences," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 3(1), pages 35-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijethy:v:3:y:2007:i:1:p:35-46
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1742-7363.2007.00045.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin B. Lockwood & Matthew Weinzierl, 2012. "De Gustibus non est Taxandum: Heterogeneity in Preferences and Optimal Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-063, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2014.
    2. Golosov, Mikhail & Troshkin, Maxim & Tsyvinski, Aleh & Weinzierl, Matthew, 2013. "Preference heterogeneity and optimal capital income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 160-175.
    3. repec:kap:jeczfn:v:122:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00712-017-0557-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ruggero Paladini, 2014. "Da Bentham alla tassazione ottimale," Public Finance Research Papers 2, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.
    5. Peter Diamond & Johannes Spinnewijn, 2011. "Capital Income Taxes with Heterogeneous Discount Rates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 52-76, November.
    6. Sanna Tenhunen & Matti Tuomala, 2010. "On Optimal Lifetime Redistribution Policy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 171-198, February.
    7. Lockwood, Benjamin B. & Weinzierl, Matthew, 2015. "De Gustibus non est Taxandum: Heterogeneity in preferences and optimal redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 74-80.
    8. Golosov, Mikhail & Weinzierl, Matthew & Tsyvinsky, Aleh, 2010. "Preference heterogeneity and optimal capital taxation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58180, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Matti Tuomala & Sanna Tenhunen, 2013. "On the design of an optimal non-linear tax/pension system with habit formation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(3), pages 485-512, June.
    10. Hodler, Roland, 2008. "Leisure and redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 354-363, June.
    11. Felix FitzRoy & Jim Jin, 2017. "Higher Tax for Top Earners," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 121-136, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • 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

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