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Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation and Behavioral Public Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Ravi Kanbur
  • Jukka Pirttilä
  • Matti Tuomala

Abstract

Research in behavioral economics has uncovered the widespread phenomenon of people making decisions against their own good intentions. In these situations, the government might want to intervene, indeed individuals might want the government to intervene, to induce behavior that is closer to what individuals wish they were doing. The analysis of such corrective interventions, through taxes and subsidies, might be called ”behavioral public economics.” However, such analysis, where the government has an objective function that is different from that of individuals, is not new in public economics. In these cases the government is said to be ”non-welfarist” in its objectives, and there is a long tradition of non-welfarist welfare economics, especially the analysis of optimal taxation and subsidy policy where the outcomes of individual behavior are evaluated using a preference function different from the one that generated the outcomes. The object of this paper is to first of all present a unified view of the non-welfarist optimal taxation literature and, secondly, to present behavioral public economics as a natural special case of this general framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2004. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation and Behavioral Public Economics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1291, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1291
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1291.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. John Creedy, 2009. "Personal Income Taxation: From Theory to Policy," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(4), pages 496-506, December.
    2. Bas Jacobs, 2013. "From Optimal Tax Theory to Applied Tax Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4151, CESifo.
    3. John Creedy, 2010. "Personal Income Tax Structure: Theory and Policy," Chapters, in: Iris Claus & Norman Gemmell & Michelle Harding & David White (ed.), Tax Reform in Open Economies, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Haaparanta, Pertti & Pirttila, Jukka, 2007. "Reforms and confidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 534-550, September.
    5. Xianhua Dai, 2011. "Optimal Taxation under Income Uncertainty," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 121-138, May.
    6. John Creedy & Nicolas Hérault, 2009. "Optimal Marginal Income Tax Reforms: A Microsimulation Analysis," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2009n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    7. Hamermesh Daniel S. & Slemrod Joel B, 2008. "The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, January.
    8. Laurence Jacquet, 2010. "Take it or Leave it: Take-up, Optimal Transfer Programs, and Monitoring," CESifo Working Paper Series 3018, CESifo.
    9. Elodie Brahic & Valérie Clément & Nathalie Moureau & Marion Vidal, 2008. "A la recherche des Merit Goods," Working Papers 08-08, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2008.
    10. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2005. "Pawns and Queens Revisited: Public Provision of Private Goods when Individuals make Mistakes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1466, CESifo.

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    Keywords

    non-welfarism; optimal taxation; behavioral economics;

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