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Using Human Capital Theory to Establish a Potential Income Tax

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Abstract

There are good arguments for an individual income tax on “potential income”, but the drawback to such a tax is the significant administrative concern regarding the implementation of the tax. This paper argues that human capital theory provides a widely accepted and straightforward method to estimate “potential income” using observed characteristics of individuals, and operationalizes this approach using data for the U.S.A. The paper also suggests that a “potential income tax” is very similar to a “presumptive income tax.” The paper concludes by reviewing some significant problems with the implementation of a potential/presumptive income tax.

Suggested Citation

  • Dagney Faulk & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Sally Wallace, 2007. "Using Human Capital Theory to Establish a Potential Income Tax," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0710, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0710
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    File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/files/2015/03/ispwp0710.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ahmad,Etisham & Stern,Nicholas, 1991. "The Theory and Practice of Tax Reform in Developing Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521265638, October.
    2. Richard Bird & Pierre-Pascal Gendron, 2006. "Is VAT the Best Way to Impose a General Consumption Tax in Developing Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0618, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Mulligan, C. B. & Sala-i-Martin, X., 1997. "A labor income-based measure of the value of human capital: An application to the states of the United States," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 159-191, May.
    4. Judd, Kenneth L, 1998. "Taxes, Uncertainty, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 289-292, May.
    5. Auerbach, Alan J., 1997. "Quantifying the Current U.S. Fiscal Imbalance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 50(3), pages 387-398, September.
    6. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    7. Milka Casanegra de Jantscher & Vito Tanzi, 1987. "Presumptive Income Taxation; Administrative, Efficiency, and Equity Aspects," IMF Working Papers 87/54, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Dillon Alleyne & James Alm & Roy Bahl & Sally Wallace, 2004. "Tax Burden in Jamaica," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0434, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    9. Plug, Erik J. S. & van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Hartog, Joop, 1999. "If we knew ability, how would we tax individuals?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 183-211, May.
    10. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Is It Really so Hard to Tax the Hard-to-Tax? The Context and Role of Presumptive Taxes," International Tax Program Papers 0307, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
    11. Allingham, M. G., 1975. "Towards an ability tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 361-376, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Paul Frijters & David Johnston & Michael Shields, 2012. "The Optimality of Tax Transfers: What does Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 821-832, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Potential Income Tax; presumptive income tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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