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Pareto-Improving Tax Reforms and the Earned Income Tax Credit

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Listed:
  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Pierre C. Boyer
  • Emanuel Hansen

Abstract

This paper provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of Pareto-improving tax reforms. The conditions can be expressed as sufficient statistics and have a wide range of potential applications in public finance. We discuss one such application in detail: the introduction of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the US. We find that the EITC can be viewed as a response to an in-efficiency in the tax and transfer system prevailing at the time. This adds a new perspective to the literature on why the EITC is a good idea, emphasizing Pareto improvements rather than equity-efficiency trade-offs.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer & Emanuel Hansen, 2020. "Pareto-Improving Tax Reforms and the Earned Income Tax Credit," CESifo Working Paper Series 8358, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Sufficient Statistics for Welfare Analysis: A Bridge Between Structural and Reduced-Form Methods," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 451-488, May.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    3. Pierre C. Boyer & Felix J. Bierbrauer, 2014. "The Pareto-Frontier in a Simple Mirrleesian Model of Income Taxation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 113-114, pages 185-206.
    4. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax-Benefit Systems in Europe and the US: Between Equity and Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 3534, CESifo.
    5. 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.
    6. Pierre C. Boyer & Felix J. Bierbrauer, 2014. "The Pareto-Frontier in a Simple Mirrleesian Model of Income Taxation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 113-114, pages 185-206.
    7. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2017. "Voting over selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 172-188.
    8. Jacob Bastian, 2020. "The Rise of Working Mothers and the 1975 Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 44-75, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Glogowsky, Ulrich, 2021. "Behavioral responses to inheritance and gift taxation: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    2. Hansen, Emanuel, 2021. "Optimal income taxation with labor supply responses at two margins: When is an Earned Income Tax Credit optimal?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax reforms; non-linear income taxation; optimal taxation; earned income tax credits; pareto efficiency;
    All these keywords.

    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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