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Optimal Taxation, Inequality and Top Incomes

Author

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  • Yuri Andrienko
  • Patricia Apps
  • Ray Rees

Abstract

In a number of high-income countries over the past few decades there has been a large growth in income inequality and at the same time a shift in the burden of taxation from the top to the middle of the income distribution. This paper applies the theory of optimal piecewise linear taxation to the issue of the taxation of top incomes. Our results suggest that an appropriate response to rising inequality is a shift towards a more progressive multi-bracket income tax system, with a more di¤erentiated structure of rates in the top percentiles.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuri Andrienko & Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2014. "Optimal Taxation, Inequality and Top Incomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 690, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:690
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/dp690.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Buttrick, Steve & Duncan, Denvil, 2010. "Global Reform of Personal Income Taxation, 1981–2005: Evidence From 189 Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(3), pages 447-478, September.
    2. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284, October.
    3. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747.
    4. Patricia Apps & Ngo Long & Ray Rees, 2014. "Optimal Piecewise Linear Income Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(4), pages 523-545, August.
    5. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    6. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1989. "Note on the shape of the optimum income tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 201-215, November.
    7. Boadway, Robin, 2012. "From Optimal Tax Theory to Tax Policy: Retrospective and Prospective Views," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262017113.
    8. Josh Bivens & Lawrence Mishel, 2013. "The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 57-78, Summer.
    9. Bev Dahlby, 2008. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042509.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jeczfn:v:122:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00712-017-0557-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Felix FitzRoy & Jim Jin, 2017. "Higher Tax for Top Earners," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 121-136, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; income distribution; top incomes; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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