Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Government’s and Agents’ Preferences Differ
Paternalism, merit goods and specific egalitarianism are concepts we sometimes meet in the literature. The thing in common is that the policy maker does not fully respect the consumer sovereignty principle and designs policies according to some other criterion than individuals’ preferences. Using the self-selection approach to tax problems developed by Stiglitz (1982) and Stern (1982), the paper provides a characterization of the properties of an optimal redistributive mixed tax scheme in the general case when the government evaluates individuals’ well-being using a different utility function than the one maximized by private agents.
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