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Optimal Linear Commodity Taxation under Optimal Non-Linear Income Taxation

  • Bas Jacobs
  • Robin Boadway

This paper analyzes optimal linear commodity taxes joint with non-linear income taxes. We provide optimal tax rules based on empirically observable elasticities. We demonstrate that commodities should be taxed/subsidized if doing so boosts labor supply. The critical role of commodity taxation is to alleviate distortions on labor supply caused by income taxation. In addition, we extend the standard formula for optimal non-linear income taxation for the presence of optimal linear commodity taxes. We correct parts of the literature that suggest that the optimal tax rules for commodity taxes derived by Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976, 1980) apply as well to linear tax commodity taxes. We show that the optimal second-best allocation cannot be implemented with linear commodity taxes and non-linear income taxes.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-02/cesifo1_wp4142.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4142.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4142
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  1. Ivan Werning & Emmanuel Farhi, 2009. "Capital Taxation: Quantitative Explorations of the Inverse Euler Equation," 2009 Meeting Papers 1262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
  3. Roger H. Gordon & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2014. "The Choice of the Personal Income Tax Base," NBER Working Papers 20227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Laroque, Guy R., 2005. "Indirect taxation is superfluous under separability and taste homogeneity: a simple proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 141-144, April.
  5. Sadka, Efraim, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 261-67, June.
  6. Jukka Pirttilä & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2014. "Public Provision, Commodity Demand, and Hours of Work: An Empirical Analysis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(4), pages 1044-1067, October.
  7. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  8. Tuomala, Matti, 1984. "On the optimal income taxation : Some further numerical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 351-366, April.
  9. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the Undesirability of Commodity Taxation Even When Income Taxation is Not Optimal," NBER Working Papers 10407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. P. A. Diamond, 1975. "A Many-Person Ramsey Tax Rule," Working papers 146, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Anthony B. Atkinson, 1976. "Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Working Papers 247, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521497695 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  16. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  17. Diamond, P., 1994. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Exemple with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," Working papers 94-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Bas Jacobs & Robin Boadway, 2013. "Optimal Linear Commodity Taxation under Optimal Non-Linear Income Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4142, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  20. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
  21. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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