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The Optimal Income Tax: Restatement and Extensions

  • Stefan Homburg

The paper presents an axiomatic restatement of the standard approach to nonlinear income taxation. It assumes a finite number of taxpayers rather than an uncountable infinity. Analytical tools are developed which facilitate proving the existence of tax schedules that are continuous, differentiable almost everywhere, and possess left-and right-derivatives at every point of non-differentiability. These tax schedules even become differentiable in the limit. Numerical examples are provided.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

Volume (Year): 58 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 363-395

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200211)58:4_363:toitra_2.0.tx_2-f
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  1. Jesus Seade, 1982. "On the Sign of the Optimum Marginal Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 637-643.
  2. Diamond, P., 1994. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Exemple with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," Working papers 94-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  4. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  5. Guesnerie, Roger & Seade, Jesus, 1982. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 157-179, March.
  6. Lollivier, Stefan & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1983. "Bunching and second-order conditions: A note on optimal tax theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 392-400, December.
  7. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  8. Brito, Dagobert L, et al, 1990. "Pareto Efficient Tax Structures," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 61-77, January.
  9. Efraim Sadka, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 261-267.
  10. Kanbur, Ravi & Tuomala, Matti, 1994. " Inherent Inequality and the Optimal Graduation of Marginal Tax Rates," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 275-82.
  11. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  12. Weibull, Jorgen W., 1989. "A note on the continuity of incentive schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 239-243, July.
  13. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-67, March.
  14. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
  15. Roell, Ailsa A., 1985. "A note on the marginal tax rate in a finite economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 267-272, November.
  16. Dixit, Avinash & Seade, Jesus, 1979. "Utilitarian versus egalitarian redistributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 121-124.
  17. Edmund S. Phelps, 1973. "Taxation of Wage Income for Economic Justice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 331-354.
  18. Wane, Waly, 2001. "The optimal income tax when poverty is a public 'bad'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 271-299, November.
  19. Strawczynski, Michel, 1998. "Social insurance and the optimum piecewise linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 371-388, September.
  20. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki & Joram Mayshar, 1991. "The Optimal Two-Bracket Linear Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 3847, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  22. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1986. "An upper bound on optimal income taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 165-181, July.
  23. Christiansen, Vidar, 1983. " Some Important Properties of the Social Marginal Utility of Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(3), pages 359-71.
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