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Politically Feasible Reforms of Non-Linear Tax Systems

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  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Pierre C. Boyer
  • Andreas Peichl

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Abstract

We study reforms of non-linear income tax systems from a political economy perspective. We present a median voter theorem for monotonic tax reforms, reforms so that the change in the tax burden is a monotonic function of income. We also provide an empirical analysis of tax reforms, with a focus on the US. We show that past reforms have, by and large, been monotonic. We also show that support by the median voter was aligned with majority support in the population. Finally, we develop sufficient statistics that enable to test whether a given tax system admits a politically feasible reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer & Andreas Peichl, 2017. "Politically Feasible Reforms of Non-Linear Tax Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 6573, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6573
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    5. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2016. "Voting over selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with a minimum-utility constraint," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 18-31.
    6. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary, 2011. "Redistribution and Tax Expenditures: The Earned Income Tax Credit," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(2), pages 689-729, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Harms, Philipp & Landwehr, Claudia, 2020. "Is money where the fun ends? Material interests and individuals’ preference for direct democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    2. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2017. "Optimal income taxation with composition effects," TEPP Working Paper 2017-04, TEPP.
    3. Stefan Steinerberger & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2019. "Tax Mechanisms and Gradient Flows," NBER Working Papers 25821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Blesse, Sebastian & Buhlmann, Florian & Doerrenberg, Philipp, 2019. "Do people really want a simple tax system? Evidence on preferences towards income tax simplification," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-058, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2017. "Optimal income taxation with composition effects," TEPP Working Paper 2017-04, TEPP.
    6. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas WERQUIN, 2019. "Taxes and Turnout," 2019 Meeting Papers 377, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Anesi, Vincent & Bowen, T. Renee, 2018. "Policy Experimentation, Redistribution and Voting Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 12797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2020. "Majority rule and selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with discrete skill levels," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 54(2), pages 337-362, March.
    9. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas D. Werquin, 2017. "Taxes and Turnout," NBER Working Papers 24123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Chirvi, Malte & Schneider, Cornelius, 2019. "Stated preferences for capital taxation - tax design, misinformation and the role of partisanship," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 242, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    11. Stefan Steinerberger & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2019. "Tax Mechanisms and Gradient Flows," Papers 1904.13276, arXiv.org.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-linear income taxation; tax reforms; political economy; optimal taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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