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Non-leaky buckets: Optimal redistributive taxation and agency costs

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  • Hoff, Karla
  • Lyon, Andrew B.

Abstract

Economists have generally argued that income redistribution comes at a cost in aggregate incomes. We provide a counter-example in a model where private information gives rise to incentive constraints. In the model, a wage tax creates the usual distortion in labor-leisure choices, but the grants that it finances reduce a distortion in investment in human capital. We prove that simple redistributive policies can yield Pareto improvements and increase aggregate incomes. Where higher education is beyond the reach of the poor, the wage tax- transfer policy is under most circumstances more effective than targeted credit taxes or subsidies in increasing over-all efficiency.
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Suggested Citation

  • Hoff, Karla & Lyon, Andrew B., 1995. "Non-leaky buckets: Optimal redistributive taxation and agency costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 365-390, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:58:y:1995:i:3:p:365-390
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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