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A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation

  • Hellwig, Martin F.

The paper provides a new proof of the positivity of the optimal marginal income tax, in a more general model, under weaker assumptions. The analysis focusses on the (weakly) relaxed problem in which upward incentive constraints are replaced by a monotonicity condition on consumption. Without upward incentive constraints, nonnegativity of the optimal marginal income tax is straightforward; strict positivity follows from an assumption on the desirability of redistributing leisure. The resulting allocation is incentive compatible, and is optimal for the original income tax problem. The argument is the same for distributions with finitely many types and for a continuous type distribution.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 91 (2007)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
Pages: 1449-1477

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:91:y:2007:i:7-8:p:1449-1477
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  4. Christiansen, Vidar, 1983. " Some Important Properties of the Social Marginal Utility of Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(3), pages 359-71.
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  6. Seade, Jesus, 1982. "On the Sign of the Optimum Marginal Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 637-43, October.
  7. Martin Hellwig, 2005. "A Contribution to the Theory of Optimal Utilitarian Income Taxation," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_23, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  8. Homburg, Stefan, 2002. "The Optimal Income Tax: Restatement and Extensions," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-252, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  9. Steven Matthews & John Moore, 1985. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Discussion Papers 661, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Weymark, John A., 1986. "A reduced-form optimal nonlinear income tax problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-217, July.
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  12. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2006. "Should Low Skilled Work be Subsidized ?," Working Papers 2006-08, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  14. Guesnerie, Roger & Seade, Jesus, 1982. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 157-179, March.
  15. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  16. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  17. Martin Hellwig, 2008. "A Maximum Principle for Control Problems with Monotonicity Constraints," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  18. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
  19. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  20. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  21. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
  22. Brunner, Johann K., 1993. "A note on the optimum income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 445-451, March.
  23. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
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