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Taxation, insurance, and precautionary labor

  • Netzer, Nick
  • Scheuer, Florian

We examine optimal taxation and social insurance if insurance markets are imperfect. This requires the development of a theory of labor supply under uncertainty. We show that the case for social insurance is not generally reinforced by adverse selection in insurance markets as social insurance will have welfare-decreasing effects on the labor market. Furthermore, positive and normative implications are highly sensitive to the insurance market equilibrium concept. While for the Rothschild-Stiglitz case social insurance at least alleviates the ineffciency of underinsurance, with a Wilson pooling equilibrium this ineffciency might even be worsened by social insurance. This sheds new light on the question whether social insurance is an appropriate means of redistribution in the presence of an optimally chosen tax schedule.

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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: 1519-1531

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:91:y:2007:i:7-8:p:1519-1531
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
  2. Spence, Michael, 1978. "Product differentiation and performance in insurance markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 427-447, December.
  3. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1995. "Redistributive Taxation and Social Insurance," CORE Discussion Papers 1995054, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
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  8. Andrew B. Abel, . "The Implications of Insurance for the Efficacy of Fiscal Policy," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 06-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  9. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  10. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
  12. Crocker, Keith J. & Snow, Arthur, 1985. "The efficiency of competitive equilibria in insurance markets with asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 207-219, March.
  13. Dominique HENRIET & Jean-Charles ROCHET, 2006. "Is public health insurance an appropriate instrument for redistribution?," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 61-88.
  14. John G. Riley, 1976. "Informational Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 071, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Ross, Stephen A, 1981. "Some Stronger Measures of Risk Aversion in the Small and the Large with Applications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 621-38, May.
  16. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  17. Jean-Charles Rochet, 1991. "Incentives, Redistribution and Social Insurance," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(2), pages 143-165, December.
  18. Jonathan Eaton & Harvey S. Rosen, 1979. "Notes on Optimal Wage Taxation and Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 0388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
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