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Randomization in optimal income tax schedules

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  • Brito, Dagobert L.
  • Hamilton, Jonathan H.
  • Slutsky, Steven M.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E.

Abstract

The optimal income tax problem, since it requires self-selection constraints which define nonconvex feasible sets, is one of the many problems in economics for which randomization in the solution may be desirable. For a two-class economy. we characterize the optimal random tax schedules and we present necessary and sufficient conditions for the desirability of local randomization. The standard single-crossing restriction on preferences is not required for these results. We also show that randomization can be beneficial without violating (ex post as well as ex ante) horizontal equity. Lastly, we give an example to demonstrate that the gains from randomization may be large.
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Suggested Citation

  • Brito, Dagobert L. & Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1995. "Randomization in optimal income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 189-223, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:56:y:1995:i:2:p:189-223
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    1. Brito, Dagobert L, et al, 1990. "Pareto Efficient Tax Structures," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 61-77, January.
    2. Richard Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 344-362, Autumn.
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    4. J C Fellingham & Y K Kwon & D P Newman, 2010. "Ex Ante Randomization in Agency Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1953, David K. Levine.
    5. Brito, Dagobert L. & Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1995. "Randomization in optimal income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 189-223, February.
    6. Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-1352, December.
    7. John C. Fellingham & Young K. Kwon & D. Paul Newman, 1984. "Ex ante Randomization in Agency Models," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 290-301, Summer.
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    11. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nolan Miller & Alexander Wagner & Richard Zeckhauser, 2013. "Solomonic separation: Risk decisions as productivity indicators," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 265-297, June.
    2. Martin Hellwig, 2010. "Utilitarian mechanism design for an excludable public good," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(3), pages 361-397, September.
    3. Brito, Dagobert L. & Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1995. "Randomization in optimal income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 189-223, February.
    4. Carla Marchese & Fabio Privileggi, 2004. "Tax Amnesties and the Self-Selection of Risk-Averse Taxpayers," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 319-341, December.
    5. Hellwig, Martin, 2004. "Risk aversion in the small and in the large when outcomes are multidimensional," Papers 04-22, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    6. Brito, Dagobert L. & Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1991. "Dynamic optimal income taxation with government commitment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 15-35, February.
    7. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M. & Slutsky, Steven M., 1998. "The value of explicit randomization in the tax code," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 87-103, January.
    8. Laurence Ales & Kurnaz Musab & Sleet Christopher, "undated". "Task, Talent, and Taxes," GSIA Working Papers 2014-E16, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    9. Gauthier, Stéphane & Laroque, Guy, 2014. "On the value of randomization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 493-507.
    10. Johanna Hey & Ulrich Schreiber & Fabian Pönnighaus & Felix Bierbrauer, 2013. "Steueroasen und »legale Steuervermeidung«: Wie kann größere Steuergerechtigkeit erreicht werden?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(11), pages 03-13, June.
    11. Chiara Canta & Marie-Louise Leroux, 2016. "Public and Private Hospitals, Congestion, and Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 18(1), pages 42-66, February.
    12. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "The undesirability of randomized income taxation under decreasing risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 791-816, April.
    13. Laurence Ales & Soo-Haeng Cho & Ersin Korpeoglu, "undated". "Innovation Tournaments with Multiple Contributors," GSIA Working Papers 2014-E17, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    14. Yukihiro Nishimura, 2009. "Redistributive taxation and social insurance under adverse selection in the insurance market," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(2), pages 176-197, April.
    15. Brito, Dagobert L, et al, 1990. "Pareto Efficient Tax Structures," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 61-77, January.
    16. Slemrod, Joel & Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Optimal observability in a linear income tax," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 105-108, August.
    17. Rasul, Imran & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2010. "The role of the agent's outside options in principal-agent relationships," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 781-788, March.
    18. Marchese, Carla & Privileggi, Fabio, 2001. "Who participates in tax amnesties? Self-selection of risk-averse taxpayers," POLIS Working Papers 21, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    19. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2002. "New perspectives on public finance: recent achievements and future challenges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 341-360, December.
    20. Schottmuller, C. & Boone, J., 2012. "Stochastic Mechanisms and Quasi-Linear Preferences," Discussion Paper 2012-047, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    21. Moresi, Serge, 1998. "Optimal taxation and firm formation:: A model of asymmetric information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1525-1551, September.
    22. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Wilson, John Douglas, 2007. "Efficient black markets?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1575-1590, August.

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