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On Policy Relevance of Ramsey Tax Rules

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The Ramsey approach to optimal taxation and Ramsey tax rules have amassed substance in economic theory. However, they are often criticized on grounds of practicality, fairness, feasibility and some other aspects of designing actual tax policy. This paper contests these criticisms,it discusses how closely or remotely Ramsey rules are followed in designing tax policy. It argues that the most of these common criticisms, be it realistic, such as administrative and compliance costs, or be it rather abstract, such as fairness, are either unimportant or irrelevant for Ramsey taxation. The more important inadequacy of the traditional Ramsey tax models is the selective modelling of incentive effects of tax reforms and their limited applicability for designing tax policy in developing countries.

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  • Selim, Sheikh, 2006. "On Policy Relevance of Ramsey Tax Rules," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2006/19, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Jul 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2006/19
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    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; Ramsey tax rules; Policy relevance;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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