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The marginal cost of public funds is one at the optimal tax system

Author

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  • Bas Jacobs

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Tinbergen Institute
    CESifo)

Abstract

This paper develops a Mirrlees framework with skill and preference heterogeneity to analyze optimal linear and nonlinear redistributive taxes, optimal provision of public goods, and the marginal cost of public funds (MCF). It is shown that the MCF equals one at the optimal tax system, for both lump-sum and distortionary taxes, for linear and nonlinear taxes, and for both income and consumption taxes. By allowing for redistributional concerns, the marginal excess burden of distortionary taxes is shown to be equal to the marginal distributional gain at the optimal tax system. Consequently, the modified Samuelson rule should not be corrected for the marginal cost of public funds. Outside the optimum, the marginal cost of public funds for distortionary taxes can be either smaller or larger than one. The findings of this paper have potentially important implications for applied tax policy and social cost–benefit analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Bas Jacobs, 2018. "The marginal cost of public funds is one at the optimal tax system," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(4), pages 883-912, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10797-017-9481-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-017-9481-0
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    Cited by:

    1. Bjart Holtsmark, 2019. "Is the marginal cost of public funds equal to one?," Discussion Papers 893, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Albert Jan Hummel, 2021. "Monopsony Power, Income Taxation and Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 9128, CESifo.
    3. Åsmund Sunde Valseth & Katinka Holtsmark & Bjart Holtsmark, 2019. "The costs of taxation in the presence of inequality," Discussion Papers 908, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    4. John K. Dagsvik & Steinar Strøm & Marilena Locatelli, 2019. "Marginal Compensated Effects in Discrete Labor Supply Models," CESifo Working Paper Series 7493, CESifo.
    5. Viktor P. Ivanitsky & Dmitry N. Gabyshev & Larisa D. Zubkova, 2019. "Individual income tax: New opportunities for management," Upravlenets, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 10(5), pages 41-51, October.
    6. Gnangnon, Sèna Kimm, 2021. "Effect of Development Aid on Productive Capacities," EconStor Preprints 233973, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Guy Meunier & Ingmar Schumacher, 2020. "The importance of considering optimal government policy when social norms matter for the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(3), pages 630-655, June.
    8. Albert Jan Hummel & Bas Jacobs, 2018. "Optimal Income Taxation in Unionized Labor Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 7188, CESifo.
    9. 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.
    10. Bjart J. Holtsmark & Katinka Kristine Holtsmark, 2021. "The Cost of Public Funding with Direct and Indirect Taxation - a Revisit," CESifo Working Paper Series 8907, CESifo.
    11. Albert Jan Hummel, 2021. "Monopsony power, income taxation and welfare," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-051/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Yoshida, Jun & Kono, Tatsuhito, 2020. "Optimal Car-related Taxes and Pricing in Beijing Considering the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," MPRA Paper 101728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. T. Daniel Woodbury, 2020. "The provision of infrastructure: benefit–cost criteria for optimizing local governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(3), pages 552-574, June.
    14. Marloes Lammers & Lucy Kok, 2021. "Are active labor market policies (cost-)effective in the long run? Evidence from the Netherlands," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 60(4), pages 1719-1746, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marginal cost of funds; Marginal excess burden; Optimal taxation; Optimal redistribution; Optimal provision of public goods; Samuelson rule;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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