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Optimal Income Taxation and Public Goods Provision in a Large Economy with Aggregate Uncertainty

  • Felix Bierbrauer
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    We study a large economy model in which individuals have private information about their productive abilities and their preferences. Moreover, there is aggregate uncertainty so that the social benefits from taxation and public goods provision are a priori unknown. The analysis is based on a mechanism design approach that imposes a requirement of robustness with respect to individual beliefs and a requirement of coalition-proofness. The paper provides a tractable and intuitive characterization of incentive-feasible tax and expenditure policies: Incentive constraints associated with productive abilities reflect only individual behavior, whereas those associated with public goods preferences reflect only collective behavior.

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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2701.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2701
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    1. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2005. "Robust Mechanism Design," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000593, www.najecon.org.
    2. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
    3. Neeman, Z., 1998. "The Relevance of Private Infromation in Mechanism Design," Papers 93, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2002. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000449, www.najecon.org.
    5. Ledyard, John O., . "Incentive Compatibility and Incomplete Information," Working Papers 187, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    6. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "Public Goods and the Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 9842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ehud Kalai, 2004. "Large Robust Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1631-1665, November.
    8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521629560 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2003. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. Narayana Kocherlakota & Christopher Phelan, 2007. "On the Robustness of Laissez-Faire," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000165, UCLA Department of Economics.
    11. Green, Jerry & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1977. "Characterization of Satisfactory Mechanisms for the Revelation of Preferences for Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 427-38, March.
    12. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1449-1477, August.
    13. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," NBER Working Papers 6355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    15. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
    16. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
    17. Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "On the marginal cost of public funds and the optimal provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1251-1262, August.
    18. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
    19. Al-Najjar, Nabil I., 2004. "Aggregation and the law of large numbers in large economies," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-35, April.
    20. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
    21. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
    22. Acemoglu, Daron & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2008. "Markets versus governments," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 159-189, January.
    23. Felix Bierbrauer, 2009. "Optimal Income Taxation and Public Good Provision with Endogenous Interest Groups," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(2), pages 311-342, 04.
    24. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
    25. Bierbrauer, Felix, 2009. "A note on optimal income taxation, public goods provision and robust mechanism design," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 667-670, June.
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