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On Optimal Commodity Taxes When Consumption Is Time Consuming

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  • FIROUZ GAHVARI

Abstract

This paper studies the problem of optimal taxation of commodities when consumption is a time-consuming activity. This is done under two distinct preference separability assumptions: between goods and labor supply, and between goods and leisure. It argues that with the labor separability, the traditional uniform taxation results of optimal tax theory continue to hold. With leisure separability, on the other hand, consumption time is a major ingredient of optimal tax rates. However, the relationship between consumption time and optimal tax rates depends crucially on the representation of the economy. In representative consumer economies, time differences determine the pattern of optimal tax rates so that goods whose consumption take more time are subjected to higher tax rates. When individuals have different earning abilities, redistributive, incentive, and efficiency considerations also come into play resulting in a complex relationship. The paper derives formulas for optimal commodity taxes in this case on the basis of three different tax structures: linear commodity taxes in combination with linear and nonlinear income taxes, and nonlinear commodity taxes in combination with nonlinear income taxes. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Firouz Gahvari, 2007. "On Optimal Commodity Taxes When Consumption Is Time Consuming," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:1-27
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2007.00295.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2015. "Optimal sales tax rebates and tax enforcement consumers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 479-493.
    2. Sam Allgood, 2009. "The Collective Household, Household Production and Efficiency of Marginal Reforms," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(5), pages 749-771, October.
    3. Boadway, Robin & Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "Optimal taxation with consumption time as a leisure or labor substitute," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1851-1878, November.
    4. Antonio Russo, 2015. "Pricing of Transport Networks, Redistribution, and Optimal Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(5), pages 605-640, October.
    5. Borger, Bruno De, 2011. "Optimal congestion taxes in a time allocation model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 79-95, January.

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