Effects of Progressive Taxes under Decentralized Bargaining and Heterogeneous Labor
We consider changes in income tax progressivity in an economy where workers' productivities differ and workers and firms bargain individually over wages. With given employment a pure increase in tax progressivity reduces wages by reducing workers' relative bargaining power. When average taxes also increase, after-tax wages are unambiguously reduced, while the effects on gross wages and firm profitability are ambiguous. We next endogenize employment and firm entry under a uniform worker productivity distribution and the government's only policy instrument is a linear income tax. While a first-best solution then is ruled out, a second-best solution can be implemented using a family of linear tax functions, where a more progressive tax implies a higher tax revenue to the government. We show that the government can increase its tax revenue, and reduce after-tax income differences, without any additional disturbance to allocation. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002
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