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Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment

  • Koskela, Erkki
  • Schob, Ronnie

According to conventional wisdom internationally mobile capital should not be taxed or should be taxed at a lower rate than labour. An important underlying assumption behind this view is that there are no market imperfections, in particular that labour markets clear competitively. At least for Europe, which has been suffering from high unemployment for a long time, this assumption does not seem appropriate. This paper studies the optimal factor taxation in the presence of unemployment which results from the union-firm wage bargaining both with optimal and restricted profit taxation when capital is internationally mobile and labour immobile. In setting tax rates the government is assumed to behave as a Stackelberg leader towards the private sector playing a Nash game. The main conclusion is that in the presence of unemployment, the conventional wisdom turns on its head; capital should generally be taxed at a higher rate than labour. Copyright 2002 by Blackwell Publishing Inc.

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Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 4 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 387-404

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:4:y:2002:i:3:p:387-404
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  1. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 2002. " Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 387-404.
  2. MINTZ, Jacques & TULKENSÂ , Henry, 1994. "Optimality Properties of Alternative Systems of Taxation of Foreign Capital Income," CORE Discussion Papers 1994078, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  7. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
  8. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Huizinga, H.P. & Nielsen, S.B., 1995. "Capital income and profits taxation with foreign ownership of firms," Discussion Paper 1995-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Stefan Homburg, 1999. "Competition and Co-ordination in International Capital Income Taxation," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 1-17, March.
  11. Bruce, N., 1991. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-10a, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  12. Holm, Pasi & Honkapohja, Seppo & Koskela, Erkki, 1994. "A monopoly-union model of wage determination with capital and taxes: An empirical application to the Finnish manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 285-303, February.
  13. Wolfram Richter & Kerstin Schneider, 2001. "Taxing Mobile Capital with Labor Market Imperfections," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 245-262, May.
  14. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1998. "Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment," Munich Reprints in Economics 19493, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  16. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
  17. Koskela Erkki & Schöb Ronnie, 2002. "Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, January.
  18. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
  19. Stefan Boeters & Kerstin Schneider, 1999. "Government versus Union. The Structure of Optimal Taxation in a Unionized Labor Market," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(2), pages 174-, June.
  20. 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.
  21. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 1999. "Tax Coordination and Unemployment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20298, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  22. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
  23. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  24. G. D. A. MacDougall, 1960. "THE BENEFITS and COSTS OF PRIVATE INVESTMENT FROM ABROAD: A THEORETICAL APPROACH," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 36(73), pages 13-35, 03.
  25. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
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