IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Consumption and Income Taxation


  • Browning, Martin
  • Burbidge, John


The contemporary preoccupation with the optimality of consumption over income taxation dwells uneasily alongside the ambiguities in the older optimal tax literature. The recent literature has become mired in questions of optimal debt policy, to such an extent that one cannot adopt a position on tax reform, without simultaneoulsy taking a position on whether the U.S. economy saves too little or too much. We argue that the case for consumption taxation is not robust to modifications of assumptions in plausible directions. In particular, straigtforward modifications of the standard microeconomic life-cycle model to incorporate liquidity constraints and a human capital decision can make it optimal to supplement a consumption tax with an interest income tax. Copyright 1990 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Browning, Martin & Burbidge, John, 1990. "Consumption and Income Taxation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 281-292, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:42:y:1990:i:1:p:281-92

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Rubio, Santiago J., 2010. "Can international environmental cooperation be bought?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 202(1), pages 255-264, April.
    2. Hans-Peter Weikard & Michael Finus & Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera, 2006. "The impact of surplus sharing on the stability of international climate agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 209-232, April.
    3. Carraro, Carlo & Siniscalco, Domenico, 1993. "Strategies for the international protection of the environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 309-328, October.
    4. Charles Kolstad, 2005. "Piercing the Veil of Uncertainty in Transboundary Pollution Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 21-34, May.
    5. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-894, Supplemen.
    6. Gollier, Christian & Treich, Nicolas, 2003. "Decision-Making under Scientific Uncertainty: The Economics of the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-103, August.
    7. Kolstad, Charles D., 2007. "Systematic uncertainty in self-enforcing international environmental agreements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 68-79, January.
    8. Johan Eyckmans & Michael Finus, 2004. "An Almost Ideal Sharing Scheme for Coalition Games with Externalities," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0414, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
    9. Oran R. Young, 2003. "Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 145-147, February.
    10. Francesco Bosello & Barbara Buchner & Carlo Carraro, 2003. "Equity, Development, and Climate Change Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 601-611, 04/05.
    11. Finus, Michael, 2008. "Game Theoretic Research on the Design of International Environmental Agreements: Insights, Critical Remarks, and Future Challenges," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 29-67, June.
    12. Johan Eyckmans & Michael Finus, 2003. "Coalition Formation in a Global Warming Game: How the Design of Protocols Affects the Success of Environmental Treaty-Making," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0317, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
    13. Arce M., Daniel G. & Sandler, Todd, 2001. "Transnational public goods: strategies and institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 493-516, September.
    14. Hans-Peter Weikard, 2009. "Cartel Stability Under An Optimal Sharing Rule," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 77(5), pages 575-593, September.
    15. Matthew McGinty, 2007. "International environmental agreements among asymmetric nations," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 45-62, January.
    16. Yi, Sang-Seung, 1997. "Stable Coalition Structures with Externalities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 201-237, August.
    17. Carsten Helm, 1998. "International Cooperation Behind the Veil of Uncertainty – The Case of Transboundary Acidification," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(2), pages 185-201, September.
    18. Barrett, Scott, 2001. "International cooperation for sale," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1835-1850, December.
    19. Charles Kolstad & Alistair Ulph, 2011. "Uncertainty, Learning and Heterogeneity in International Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(3), pages 389-403, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Anagnostopoulos, Alexis & Li, Qian, 2013. "Consumption taxes and precautionary savings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 238-242.
    2. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2005. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings in a Two Class Economy," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0525, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    3. Craig Brett & John Weymark, 2008. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings without Commitment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0805, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    4. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Brett, Craig, 2004. "Capital Taxation In A Simple Finite-Horizon Olg Model," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 709, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:42:y:1990:i:1:p:281-92. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.