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Conspicuous Leisure: Optimal Income Taxation When Both Relative Consumption and Relative Leisure Matter

  • Thomas Aronsson
  • Olof Johansson-Stenman

Previous studies on public policy under relative consumption concerns have ignored the role of leisure comparisons. This paper considers a two-type optimal nonlinear income tax model where people care both about their relative consumption and their relative leisure. Increased consumption positionality typically implies higher marginal income tax rates for both the high-ability and the low-ability type, whereas leisure positionality has an offsetting role. However, this offsetting role is not symmetric; concern about relative leisure implies a progressive income tax component, i.e., a component that is larger for the high-ability than for the low-ability type. Moreover, leisure positionality does not modify the policy rule for public good provision when the income tax is optimally chosen.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01738.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 115 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 155-175

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:115:y:2013:i:1:p:155-175
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