IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v90y2006i10-11p1765-1787.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is commodity taxation unfair?

Author

Listed:
  • Fleurbaey, Marc

Abstract

In a model where agents have unequal skills and heterogeneous preferences about consumption goods and leisure, this paper studies how to combine linear commodity taxes and non-linear income tax. It proposes a particular social welfare function on the basis of fairness principles. It then derives a simple criterion for evaluating the social welfare consequences of various tax schedules. Under the proposed approach, the optimal tax should have no commodity tax for some range of consumptions, and income redistribution would feature high subsidies to the working poor. It is also shown that, even when the income tax fails to be optimal, commodity taxes may not improve social welfare.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Fleurbaey, Marc, 2006. "Is commodity taxation unfair?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1765-1787, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:10-11:p:1765-1787
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(06)00073-9
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cécile Boyer & Christian Gourieroux & Gaëlle Le Fol, 2001. "Ajustement des prix bid et ask en présence d'information privée," Working Papers 2001-25, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    2. Robin Boadway & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau & María del Mar Racionero, 2002. "Optimal Redistribution with Heterogeneous Preferences for Leisure," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 475-498, October.
    3. Naito, Hisahiro, 1999. "Re-examination of uniform commodity taxes under a non-linear income tax system and its implication for production efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 165-188, February.
    4. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 1994. "Towards a theory of the direct-indirect tax mix," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 71-88, September.
    5. Marc Fleurbaey, 2003. "Social Welfare, Priority to the Worst-Off And the Dimensions of Individual Well-Being," IDEP Working Papers 0312, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France.
    6. François Maniquet & Yves Sprumont, 2004. "Fair Production and Allocation of an Excludable Nonrival Good," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 627-640, March.
    7. Tatsuo Hatta, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21.
    8. Guesnerie, Roger, 1977. "On the direction of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 179-202, April.
    9. Maniquet, Francois & Sprumont, Yves, 2005. "Welfare egalitarianism in non-rival environments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 155-174, February.
    10. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-478, August.
    11. Marc Fleurbaey & François 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, June.
    12. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2008. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(2), pages 218-244, June.
    13. Laroque, Guy R., 2005. "Indirect taxation is superfluous under separability and taste homogeneity: a simple proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 141-144, April.
    14. Vidar Christiansen, 1981. "Evaluation of Public Projects under Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 447-457.
    15. Marc Fleurbaey & François Maniquet, 2006. "Fair Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 55-83.
    16. Alkan, Ahmet & Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David, 1991. "Fair Allocation of Indivisible Goods and Criteria of Justice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1023-1039, July.
    17. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    18. Samuelson, P. A., 1986. "Theory of optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 137-143, July.
    19. Marc Fleurbaey & Maurice Salles & John Weymark, 2008. "Justice, Political Liberalism and Utilitarianism," Post-Print hal-00246415, HAL.
    20. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2001. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: The Design of the Tax Structure Revisted," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 781-799, August.
    21. Fleurbaey, Marc & Suzumura, Kotaro & Tadenuma, Koichi, 2005. "Arrovian aggregation in economic environments: how much should we know about indifference surfaces?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 22-44, September.
    22. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
    23. Konishi, Hideo, 1995. "A Pareto-improving commodity tax reform under a smooth nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 413-446, March.
    24. Feldstein, Martin, 1976. "On the theory of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 77-104.
    25. Decoster, Andre & Schokkaert, Erik & Van Camp, Guy, 1997. "Is redistribution through indirect taxes equitable?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 599-608, April.
    26. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
    27. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
    28. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    29. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
    30. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2008. "Fair social orderings," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 34(1), pages 25-45, January.
    31. Yukihiro Nishimura, 2003. "Optimal commodity taxation for reduction of envy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(3), pages 501-527, December.
    32. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty and optimal taxation: In defense of commodity taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 291-310, February.
    33. Nishimura, Yukihiro, 2003. "Optimal non-linear income taxation for reduction of envy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 363-386, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Moreno-Ternero, Juan D., 2011. "Voting over piece-wise linear tax methods," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 29-36, January.
    2. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Valletta Giacomo, 2012. "Health, Fairness and Taxation," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    4. Fleurbaey, Marc & Maniquet, François, 2015. "Optimal taxation theory and principles of fairness," CORE Discussion Papers 2015005, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Alan Krause, 2009. "A general equilibrium analysis of the Laffer argument," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 33(4), pages 601-615, November.
    6. Alan Krause, 2007. "A Tax Reform Analysis of the Laffer Argument," Discussion Papers 07/10, Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2008. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(2), pages 218-244, June.
    8. Giacomo Valletta, 2014. "Health, fairness and taxation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 101-140, June.
    9. Alan Krause, 2014. "Piecewise Linear Income Tax Reforms," Discussion Papers 14/25, Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:10-11:p:1765-1787. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.