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Optimal redistribution with unobservable disability: Welfarist versus non-welfarist social objectives

  • Pestieau, Pierre
  • Racionero, María

This paper examines the optimal non-linear income and commodity tax when the same labor disutility can receive two alternative interpretations, taste for leisure or disability, but the disability is not readily observable. We compare the optimal policy under alternative social objectives, welfarist and non-welfarist, and conclude that the non-welfarist objective, in which the planner gives a higher weight to the disutility of labor of the disabled individuals, is the only reasonable specification. It has some foundation in the theory of responsibility; further, unlike the other specifications it yields an optimal solution that may involve a lower labor supply requirement from disabled individuals.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (August)
Pages: 636-644

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:6:p:636-644
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  1. Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau & María Racionero, 2003. "Optimal redistribution when different workers are indistinguishable," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 911-922, November.
  2. Cremer Helmuth & Lozachmeur Jean-Marie & Pestieau Pierre, 2007. "Disability Testing and Retirement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-34, February.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  4. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2004. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation and Behavioral Public Economics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1291, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Marc Fleurbaey & Francois Maniquet, 2002. "Fair Income Tax," Economics Working Papers 0021, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  6. Schokkaert, Erik & Van de gaer, Dirk & Vandenbroucke, Frank & Luttens, Roland Iwan, 2004. "Responsibility sensitive egalitarianism and optimal linear income taxation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 151-182, September.
  7. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equality and responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 683-689, April.
  8. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
  9. Dirk Van de gaer & Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1999. "Responsibility, talent, and compensation: A second-best analysis," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 35-55.
  10. Marc Fleurbaey & Fran�Ois Maniquet, 2007. "Help the Low Skilled or Let the Hardworking Thrive? A Study of Fairness in Optimal Income Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(3), pages 467-500, 06.
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