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Politically Feasible Reforms of Non-Linear Tax Systems

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  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Pierre C. Boyer

Abstract

We present a conceptual framework for the analysis of politically feasible tax reforms. First, we prove a median voter theorem for monotonic reforms of non-linear tax systems. This yields a characterization of reforms that are preferred by a majority of individuals over the status quo and hence politically feasible. Second, we show that every Pareto-efficient tax systems is such that moving towards lower tax rates for below-median incomes and towards higher rates for above median incomes is politically feasible. Third, we develop a method for diagnosing whether a given tax system admits reforms that are welfare-improving and/ or politically feasible.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer, 2017. "Politically Feasible Reforms of Non-Linear Tax Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 6573, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6573
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Generalized Pareto Curves : Theory and Applications," Working Papers 201703, World Inequality Lab.
    2. Christiansen, Vidar & Jansen, Eilev S., 1978. "Implicit social preferences in the Norwegian system of indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 217-245, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Tax-benefit systems in Europe and the US: between equity and efficiency," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/11, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    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. Stuart Adam & James Browne & David Phillips & Barra Roantree, 2017. "Frictions and taxpayer responses: evidence from bunching at personal tax thresholds," IFS Working Papers W17/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Peichl Andreas & Pestel Nico & Siegloch Sebastian & Sommer Eric, 2014. "Bundestagswahlkampf 2013: Klientelpolitik durch Steuerreform?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 182-194, June.
    8. Nathaniel Hendren, 2014. "Efficient Welfare Weights," NBER Working Papers 20351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2014. "A Variational Approach to the Analysis of Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 20780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2017. "Optimal income taxation with composition effects," TEPP Working Paper 2017-04, TEPP.
    2. Anesi, Vincent & Bowen, T. Renee, 2018. "Policy Experimentation, Redistribution and Voting Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 12797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. 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.
    4. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas D. Werquin, 2017. "Taxes and Turnout," NBER Working Papers 24123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Stefan Steinerberger & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2019. "Tax Mechanisms and Gradient Flows," Papers 1904.13276, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-linear income taxation; tax reforms; political economy; welfare analysis;

    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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