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The theory of optimal taxation: what is the policy relevance?

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  • Peter Sørensen

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Abstract

The paper discusses the implications of optimal tax theory for the debates on uniform commodity taxation and neutral capital income taxation. While strong administrative and political economy arguments in favor of uniform and neutral taxation remain, recent advances in optimal tax theory suggest that the information needed to implement the differentiated taxation prescribed by optimal tax theory may be easier to obtain than previously believed. The paper also points to the strong similarity between optimal commodity tax rules and the rules for optimal source-based capital income taxation. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Sørensen, 2007. "The theory of optimal taxation: what is the policy relevance?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 383-406, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:14:y:2007:i:4:p:383-406
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-007-9024-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
    2. John Piggott & John Whalley, 2001. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and the Informal Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1084-1094, September.
    3. Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Direct or indirect tax instruments for redistribution: short-run versus long-run," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 503-518, March.
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    5. 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.
    6. Boadway, Robin & Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "Optimal taxation with consumption time as a leisure or labor substitute," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1851-1878, November.
    7. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    9. P. B. Sørensen, 1997. "Public finance solutions to the European unemployment problem?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 221-264, October.
    10. Sandmo, Agnar, 1976. "Optimal taxation : An introduction to the literature," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 37-54.
    11. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421 Elsevier.
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    13. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen, 2004. "Optimum taxation and the allocation of time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 545-557, March.
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    15. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katri Kosonen & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2009. "The role of fiscal instruments in environmental policy," Taxation Papers 19, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    2. Salmai Qari & Kai Konrad & Benny Geys, 2012. "Patriotism, taxation and international mobility," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 695-717, June.
    3. repec:eee:enepol:v:117:y:2018:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Claudio Agostini, 2013. "Una Reforma Eficiente y Equitativa del Impuesto al Ingreso en Chile," Working Papers wp_028, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    5. Ruud Mooij, 2008. "Reinventing the Dutch tax-benefit system: exploring the frontier of the equity-efficiency trade-off," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(1), pages 87-103, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; Uniform taxation; Tax neutrality; H21; H25;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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