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Optimal Wage and Income Taxation with Wage Uncertainty


  • Hamilton, Jonathan H


Optimal taxation in a two-period model with human-capital investment and second-period wage uncertainty is analyzed. A proportional tax on wages dominates lump-sum taxation and the socially-optimal level of human capital exceeds that which individuals choose. A tax on interest income may raise welfare by encouraging investment in human capital. The interest-income tax reduces the difference between returns to physical and human capital from individuals' inability to reduce human-capital risk through diversification. A positive interest-income tax rate may therefore be optimal, even with an optimal wage tax, by encouraging m ore investment in human capital. Copyright 1987 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamilton, Jonathan H, 1987. "Optimal Wage and Income Taxation with Wage Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 373-388, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:28:y:1987:i:2:p:373-88

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Roger Sherman, 1974. "The Psychological Difference Between Ambiguity and Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 166-169.
    5. Schoemaker, Paul J H, 1982. "The Expected Utility Model: Its Variants, Purposes, Evidence and Limitations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 529-563, June.
    6. Robert A. Jones & Joseph M. Ostroy, 1984. "Flexibility and Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 13-32.
    7. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
    8. Mossin, Jan, 1969. "A Note on Uncertainty and Preferences in a Temporal Context," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 172-174, March.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    10. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    11. Vernon L. Smith, 1969. "Measuring Nonmonetary Utilities in Uncertain Choices: The Ellsberg Urn," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 324-329.
    12. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    13. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1989. "Risk, Ambiguity, and Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-35, April.
    14. repec:bla:joares:v:9:y:1971:i:2:p:307-332 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
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