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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. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  2. 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.
  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. Efraim Sadka, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 261-267.
  5. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
  6. Bas Jacobs & Robin Boadway, 2013. "Optimal Linear Commodity Taxation under Optimal Non-Linear Income Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4142, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Jukka Pirttilä & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2010. "Public provision, commodity demand and hours of work: An empirical analysis," Working Papers 1079, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
  10. Diamond, P. A., 1975. "A many-person Ramsey tax rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-342, November.
  11. Tuomala, Matti, 1984. "On the optimal income taxation : Some further numerical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 351-366, April.
  12. Guy Laroque, 2004. "Indirect Taxation is Superfluous under Separability and Taste Homogeneity : A Simple Proof," Working Papers 2004-23, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Desirability of Commodity Taxation under Non-Linear Income Taxation and Heterogeneous Tastes," NBER Working Papers 8029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
  16. A. B. Atkinson, 1977. "Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 10(4), pages 590-606, November.
  17. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  18. 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.
  19. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  20. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
  21. Ivan Werning & Emmanuel Farhi, 2009. "Capital Taxation: Quantitative Explorations of the Inverse Euler Equation," 2009 Meeting Papers 1262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  22. Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, Junio.
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