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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. Homburg, Stefan, 2002. "The Optimal Income Tax: Restatement and Extensions," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-252, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
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  4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1449-1477, August.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
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  9. 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.
  10. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-67, March.
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  15. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  16. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2006. "Should Low Skilled Work be Subsidized ?," Working Papers 2006-08, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  17. Guesnerie Roger & Seade Jesus, 1981. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8118, CEPREMAP.
  18. Weymark, John A., 1986. "A reduced-form optimal nonlinear income tax problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-217, July.
  19. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  20. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
  21. Hellwig, Martin F., 1986. "The optimal linear income tax revisited," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 163-179, November.
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  23. 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.
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