IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/hpe/journl/y2014v211i4p9-66.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Numerical Model of Optimal Differentiated Indirect Taxation

Author

Listed:
  • John T. Revesz

    (Australian Public Service)

Abstract

This study examines the structure of optimal commodity tax rates in a many-person many-goods static computational model using segmented LES utility. One of the major findings is that with non-linear Engel curves and linear income tax, optimal commodity tax rates will be progressive and highly dispersed under logarithmic utility specifications. The dispersion of tax rates is reduced if the inequality aversion rate of society is low. With exogenously given non-optimal and non-linear income tax schedules, usually there is still a need for differentiated and progressive indirect taxation. These findings are in marked contrast to the continuing preoccupation of much of the literature with uniform indirect taxation for redistributive purposes. The results also indicate that if tax evasion incurs substantial deadweight costs, it usually reduces optimal tax rates by over a half of the evasion/revenue ratio of the product, with the reduction being larger for necessities and smaller for luxuries. Private compliance costs and government administration costs reduce optimal tax rates by a similar amount to the share of these costs from taxes. In a model with linear income tax, the effect of externalities on optimal tax rates substantially exceeds the corresponding Pigouvian tax rates or subsidies. The main benefit of higher taxes on leisure complements than leisure substitutes appears to be in boosting tax revenue for redistribution, rather than in improving the utility position of those paying the taxes. The effect of complexities such as tax evasion, administrative costs, externalities and leisure complements/substitutes on redistribution is not neutral. Generally, these factors tend to increase the progressivity of optimal commodity tax rates.

Suggested Citation

  • John T. Revesz, 2014. "A Numerical Model of Optimal Differentiated Indirect Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 211(4), pages 9-66, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2014:v:211:i:4:p:9-66
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.ief.es/comun/Descarga.cshtml?ruta=~/docs/destacados/publicaciones/revistas/hpe/211_Art1.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
    2. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747, Decembrie.
    3. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Darío Maldonado & Pierre Pestieau, 2012. "Taxing Sin Goods and Subsidizing Health Care," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 101-123, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Diamond, P. A., 1975. "A many-person Ramsey tax rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-342, November.
    6. Jenny Freitas, 2012. "Inequality, the politics of redistribution and the tax mix," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 611-630, June.
    7. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-1179, September.
    8. Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, November.
    9. Tuomala, Matti, 1984. "On the optimal income taxation : Some further numerical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 351-366, April.
    10. Ray, Ranjan, 1986. "Sensitivity of `optimal' commodity tax rates to alternative demand functional forms : An econometric case study of India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 253-268, November.
    11. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, November.
    12. West, Sara E. & Parry, Ian W.H., 2009. "Alcohol-Leisure Complementarity: Empirical Estimates and Implications for Tax Policy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(4), pages 611-633, December.
    13. Deaton, Angus & Stern, Nicholas, 1986. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes, taste differences and lump-sum grants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 263-266.
    14. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
    15. 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.
    16. Paul Johnson & Gareth Myles, 2011. "The Mirrlees Review," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 319-329, September.
    17. Spencer Bastani & Sören Blomquist & Jukka Pirttilä, 2015. "How should commodities be taxed? A counter-argument to the recommendation in the Mirrlees Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 455-478.
    18. Sebastian Kessing & Bernhard Koldert, 2013. "Cross-border shopping and the Atkinson–Stiglitz theorem," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(4), pages 618-630, August.
    19. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    20. Robin Boadway, 2012. "Recent Advances in Optimal Income Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 15-39, March.
    21. 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.
    22. Jacobs, Bas & Boadway, Robin, 2014. "Optimal linear commodity taxation under optimal non-linear income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 201-210.
    23. Jens Matthias Arnold & Bert Brys & Christopher Heady & Åsa Johansson & Cyrille Schwellnus & Laura Vartia, 2011. "Tax Policy for Economic Recovery and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages 59-80, February.
    24. Revesz, John T, 1989. "The Optimal Taxation of Labour Income," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 44(3), pages 453-475.
    25. Alm, James, 1996. "What Is an "Optimal'"Tax System?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(1), pages 117-33, March.
    26. Don Fullerton & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1997. "Environmental Taxes and the Double Dividends Hypothesis: Did You Really Expect Something for Nothing?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9706, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    27. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
    28. 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.
    29. Revesz, John T, 1997. "Uniform versus Non-uniform Indirect Taxation: Some Numerical Results," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 52(2), pages 210-234.
    30. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
    31. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
    32. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
    33. Unknown, 1986. "Letters," Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-9.
    34. X. Ruiz del Portal, 2012. "On the Direct Versus Indirect Taxation Controversy," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 203(4), pages 9-22, December.
    35. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    36. 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.
    37. Stern, N. H., 1976. "On the specification of models of optimum income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 123-162.
    38. Robin Boadway, 2010. "Efficiency and Redistribution: An Evaluative Review of Louis Kaplow's The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 964-979, December.
    39. Murty, M. N. & Ray, Ranjan, 1987. "Sensitivity of optimal commodity taxes to relaxing leisure/goods separability and to the wage rate," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 273-277.
    40. Feldstein, Martin S, 1972. "Distributional Equity and the Optimal Structure of Public Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 32-36, March.
    41. Blundell, Richard & Ray, Ranjan, 1984. "Testing for Linear Engel Curves and Additively Separable Preferences Using a New Flexible Demand System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 800-811, December.
    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. X. Ruiz del Portal, 2017. "Optimal mixed taxation, public goods and the problem of high-skilled emigration," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 97-119, October.
    2. Eren Gürer & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2021. "Pro-rich Inflation and Optimal Income Taxation," Public Finance Review, , vol. 49(6), pages 815-844, November.
    3. Boadway, Robin & Song, Zhen, 2016. "Indirect taxes for redistribution: Should necessity goods be favored?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 64-88.
    4. Odd E. Nygård & John T. Revesz, 2015. "Optimal indirect taxation and the uniformity debate: A review of theoretical results and empirical contributions," Discussion Papers 809, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. John Revesz, 2020. "A Model of the Optimal Tax Mix Including Capital Taxation," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 48(3), pages 387-402, September.
    6. Xavier Ruiz del Portal, 2020. "Two reasons for not using commodity taxation in the presence of an optimal income tax," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 232(1), pages 9-28, March.
    7. Odd E. Nygard & John T. Revesz, 2016. "A literature review on optimal indirect taxation and the uniformity debate," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 218(3), pages 107-140, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Odd E. Nygård & John T. Revesz, 2015. "Optimal indirect taxation and the uniformity debate: A review of theoretical results and empirical contributions," Discussion Papers 809, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Odd E. Nygard & John T. Revesz, 2016. "A literature review on optimal indirect taxation and the uniformity debate," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 218(3), pages 107-140, September.
    3. John T. Revesz, 2014. "A computational model of optimal commodity taxation," Public Finance Research Papers 4, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DSGE, Sapienza University of Rome.
    4. Jacobs, Bas & Boadway, Robin, 2014. "Optimal linear commodity taxation under optimal non-linear income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 201-210.
    5. Lu, Chun-Hui & Ueng, K.L. Glen & Chang, Juin-Jen, 2022. "Consumption indivisibility and the optimal tax mix," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    6. Xavier Ruiz del Portal, 2020. "Two reasons for not using commodity taxation in the presence of an optimal income tax," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 232(1), pages 9-28, March.
    7. Jacobs, Bas & de Mooij, Ruud A., 2015. "Pigou meets Mirrlees: On the irrelevance of tax distortions for the second-best Pigouvian tax," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 90-108.
    8. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 2023. "The Case for Uniform Commodity Taxation: A Tax Reform Approach," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 244(1), pages 79-109, March.
    9. Feger, Fabian & Radulescu, Doina, 2020. "When environmental and redistribution concerns collide: The case of electricity pricing," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    10. 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.
    11. X. Ruiz del Portal, 2017. "Optimal mixed taxation, public goods and the problem of high-skilled emigration," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 97-119, October.
    12. Spencer Bastani & Sebastian Koehne, 2022. "How Should Consumption Be Taxed?," CESifo Working Paper Series 10038, CESifo.
    13. Robin Boadway, 2017. "Second-Best Theory: Ageing well at Sixty," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 249-270, May.
    14. Boadway, Robin & Song, Zhen, 2016. "Indirect taxes for redistribution: Should necessity goods be favored?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 64-88.
    15. By Louis Kaplow, 2012. "Optimal Control Of Externalities In The Presence Of Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 487-509, May.
    16. Fabian Feger & Doina Radulescu & Doina Maria Radulescu, 2018. "Redistribution through Income Taxation and Public Utility Pricing in the Presence of Energy Efficiency Considerations," CESifo Working Paper Series 7195, CESifo.
    17. Radulescu, Doina & Feger, Fabian, 2017. "One vs. Two Instruments for Redistribution: The Case of Public Utility Pricing," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168138, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2018. "Pareto efficient taxation and expenditures: Pre- and re-distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 101-119.
    19. Jacobs, Bas & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2019. "Redistribution and pollution taxes with non-linear Engel curves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 198-226.
    20. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Optimal Labor Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 18521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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:hpe:journl:y:2014:v:211:i:4:p:9-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Miguel Gómez de Antonio (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/iefgves.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.