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The Normative Analysis of Tagging Revisited: Dealing with Stigmatization


  • Laurence Jacquet
  • Bruno Van der Linden


Should income transfers be conditional upon personal characteristics of the potential recipients (so-called tagging), or should they only be tied to reported incomes? A still widespread social norm consists in requiring that individuals (of working age) support themselves and their families. Being a welfare recipient is then socially disapproved because it reveals to others that one is unable to fend for oneself and one´s family. In this context, tagging is always suboptimal under a maximin criterion. With a utilitarian criterion, tagging can only be recommended if the distribution of the intensity of stigmatization relative to earnings has small mean and variance and if the mean and variance of the distribution of abilities among the high-ability people are neither too large nor too small.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence Jacquet & Bruno Van der Linden, 2006. "The Normative Analysis of Tagging Revisited: Dealing with Stigmatization," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(2), pages 168-198, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200606)62:2_168:tnaotr_2.0.tx_2-1
    DOI: 10.1628/001522106X120640

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005. "Log-concave probability and its applications," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laurence, JACQUET, 2006. "Optimal disability assistance when fraud and stigma matter," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006052, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    2. Robin Boadway & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Tagging and redistributive taxation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 83-84, pages 123-147.
    3. Kanbur, Ravi & Tuomala, Matti, 2016. "Groupings and the gains from tagging," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 53-63.
    4. Laurence Jacquet, 2014. "Tagging and redistributive taxation with imperfect disability monitoring," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(2), pages 403-435, February.
    5. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2007. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Presumptive Taxation," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 63(3), pages 311-326, September.
    6. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2011. "Transfer Program Complexity and the Take-Up of Social Benefits," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 54-90, February.
    7. Janet Holtzblatt, 2007. "Implications of Return-Free Tax Systems for the Structure of the Individual Income Tax," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 63(3), pages 327-349, September.
    8. Robin Boadway, 2012. "Recent Advances in Optimal Income Taxation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 15-39, March.
    9. Tomer Blumkin & Yoram Margalioth & Efraim Sadka, 2015. "Welfare Stigma Re-Examined," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(6), pages 874-886, December.
    10. Michel, DE VROEY, 2006. "Getting Rid of Keynes ? A reflection on the history of macroeconomics," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006051, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.

    More about this item


    tagging ; optimal taxation; welfare programs; stigmatization;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


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