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Optimal Taxation and Normalisations

  • Bjørn Sandvik

There still seems to be some confusion about the consequences of normalisations in the optimal taxation literature. We claim that:1) Normalisations do not matter for the real solution of optimal taxation problem.2) Normalisations do matter for good characterisations of the solutions to optimal taxation problems.Whereas the first point is uncontroversial, the second one is less well understood. There is also a need to distinguish between the following senses of taxation of endowment:1) The taxation of own consumption of initial endowments (e.g. leisure).2) The taxation of the sale of initial endowments (e.g. labour).By postponing the normalisation of consumer prices, we detail how normalisations of consumer prices affect the characterisation of optimal commodity taxes, derive the preferred characterisation, and show how it depends on the normalisation. On the way, we discuss the effect of normalisations on measures of the marginal efficiency loss of taxation.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1025.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1025
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  1. Dalton, Thomas R. & Sadka, Efraim, 1979. "A many-good Corlett-Hague tax rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 169-172.
  2. Sandmo, Agnar, 1987. "A Reinterpretation of Elasticity Formulae in Optimum Tax Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(213), pages 89-96, February.
  3. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "The Distance Function in Consumer Behaviour with Applications to Index Numbers and Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 391-405, July.
  4. Egbert Dierker & Birgit Grodal, 1996. "The Price Normalization Problem in Imperfect Competition and the Objective of the Firm," Discussion Papers 96-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-06, September.
  6. Hicks, J. R., 1986. "A Revision of Demand Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198285502, March.
  7. Jaskold Gabszewicz, Jean & Vial, Jean-Philippe, 1972. "Oligopoly "A la cournot" in a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 381-400, June.
  8. Lars Hokonsen, 1998. "An Investigation into Alternative Representations of the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 329-343, July.
  9. Angus Deaton, 1979. "Optimal Taxes and the Structure of Preferences," Working Papers 506, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Sandmo, Agnar, 1976. "Optimal taxation : An introduction to the literature," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 37-54.
  11. Munk, Knud Jorgen, 1980. "Optimal Taxation with Some Non-Taxable Commodities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 755-65, July.
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