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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
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2701
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    1. 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.
    2. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2005. "Robust Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1771-1813, November.
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    4. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
    5. Ehud Kalai, 2004. "Large Robust Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1631-1665, November.
    6. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1991. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," Working Papers 828, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. Ledyard, John O., 1978. "Incentive compatibility and incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 171-189, June.
    9. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    10. Acemoglu, Daron & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2008. "Markets versus governments," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 159-189, January.
    11. Narayana Kocherlakota & Christopher Phelan, 2007. "On the Robustness of Laissez-Faire," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000165, UCLA Department of Economics.
    12. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
    13. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2002. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000449, David K. Levine.
    14. 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.
    15. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," NBER Working Papers 6355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1587-1621, 09.
    17. Neeman, Z., 1998. "The Relevance of Private Infromation in Mechanism Design," Papers 93, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    18. 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.
    19. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
    20. 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.
    21. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
    22. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "Public goods and the distribution of income," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1627-1660, October.
    23. 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.
    24. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
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