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Some Results on the Comparative Statics of Optimal Categorical Transfer Payments

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  • Alan D. Viard

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Abstract

To alleviate equity-efficiency trade-offs, tax transfer systems pay categorical transfers to groups defined by characteristics correlated with earnings ability. The author examines the comparative statics of categorical transfer payments in a linear income tax model through analysis of first-order conditions and numerical calculations. The analysis sharpens previous results on the size of categorical transfers, the resulting reduction in the income tax rate, and the associated welfare gain. Notably, the author finds that categorical transfers should vary more across groups when earnings ability is more equal within each group, when labor supply is more elastic, and when less revenue is required for public goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan D. Viard, 2001. "Some Results on the Comparative Statics of Optimal Categorical Transfer Payments," Public Finance Review, , vol. 29(2), pages 148-180, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:29:y:2001:i:2:p:148-180
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sean Slack & David Ulph, 2014. "Optimal Universal and Categorical Benefits with Classification Errors and Imperfect Enforcement," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201411, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
    2. Louis Kaplow, 2007. "Optimal income transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(3), pages 295-325, June.
    3. Robin Boadway & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Tagging and redistributive taxation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 83-84, pages 123-147.
    4. Helmuth Cremer & Firouz Gahvari & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "Tagging and Income Taxation: Theory and an Application," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 31-50, February.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl, 2010. "The Optimal Taxation of Height: A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 155-176, February.
    6. Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2012. "Why do we Redistribute so Much but Tag so Little? The principle of equal sacrifice and optimal taxation," NBER Working Papers 18045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Slack, Sean & Ulph, David, 2014. "Optimal Universal and Categorical Benefits with Classification Errors and Imperfect Enforcement," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-13, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).

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