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A note on the existence of progressive tax structures


  • Efe A. Ok

    (Department of Economics, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA)


This paper studies the possibility of progressive income taxation of heterogeneous populations. While a result due to Moyes and Shorrocks (1994) indicates that there does not exist a universally inequality-reducing tax structure which distinguishes between at least two subpopulations (in the sense of applying a different tax function to each subclass), it is shown here that a minimal refinement of the universality of inequality reduction leads one to a possibility conclusion. Informally stated, we prove the existence of uncountably many differentiated tax structures which are strictly progressive almost everywhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Efe A. Ok, 1997. "A note on the existence of progressive tax structures," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 14(4), pages 527-543.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:14:y:1997:i:4:p:527-543
    Note: Received: 14 March 1995/Accepted: 20 April 1996

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Donald J & Lewis, Lucinda M, 1981. "Myopic Economic Agents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 359-368, March.
    2. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2003. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 777-802, September.
    3. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2001. "Transfer principles and inequality aversion, with an application to optimal growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-11, July.
    4. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "Continuity and equity with infinite horizons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 14(2), pages 345-356.
    5. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hennessy, David A. & Lapan, Harvey, 2007. "When different market concentration indices agree," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 234-240, May.
    2. Patrick Moyes & Alain Trannoy, 1999. "Le quotient familial : une structure fiscale cohérente avec le critère de Lorenz relatif," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 138(2), pages 111-124.
    3. Huifu Xu & Dali Zhang, 2012. "Monte Carlo methods for mean-risk optimization and portfolio selection," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 3-29, February.
    4. Moyes, Patrick & Shorrocks, Anthony, 1998. "The impossibility of a progressive tax structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 49-65, July.

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