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Normative Analysis with Societal Constraints

  • Robin Boadway
  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau

This paper examines the question of achieving a societal consensus around redistributive policies. Its extent is measured by the degree of work participation among the different skill classes that populate the economy. This consensus is driven both by the material incentives and heterogeneous preferences for leisure of each skill class, and an endogenous social norm, which embodies societal attitudes towards distributive justice. Results for optimal redistributive taxation in the presence of an extensive margin of participation show that when a norm is present, participation taxes are generally lower (resp. higher) than when it is not, whenever it enters as a benefit or cost for participants (resp. a cost for non-participants). In the event of multiple participation equilibria, it is examined how changes in the progressivity of taxation may induce shifts in equilibria. This multiplicity of equilibria is thereafter exploited as a constraint on the social planner, which views societal consensus as an objective.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4305.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4305
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  1. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  2. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  3. Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Working Paper Series 441, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 815.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  5. Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2010. "Work values, endogenous sentiments redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 612-627, October.
  6. repec:hal:journl:hal-00173678 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Dufwenberg, Martin & Lundholm, Michael, 2001. "Social Norms and Moral Hazard," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 506-25, July.
  8. Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2013. "Generalized Social Marginal Welfare Weights for Optimal Tax Theory," NBER Working Papers 18835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Thomas Aronsson & Tomas Sjögren, 2010. "Optimal income taxation and social norms in the labor market," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 67-89, February.
  10. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
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