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Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity

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  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Luca Micheletto

Abstract

We impose a horizontal equity restriction on the problem of finding the optimal utilitarian tax mix. The horizontal equity constraint requires that individuals with the same ability have to pay the same amount of taxes regardless of their preferences for leisure. Contrary to normal findings, we find that a good that is complementary to leisure can be encouraged by the tax system, and that a good that normally should be discouraged by the tax system can be subsidized even if the economy is composed of only two private commodities plus leisure. Also, the marginal effective tax rate can be different from zero at the top (of the ability distribution) when the tax mix obeys the horizontal equity constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrik Jordahl & Luca Micheletto, 2003. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," CESifo Working Paper Series 977, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_977
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    Cited by:

    1. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2005. "Pawns and Queens Revisited: Public Provision of Private Goods When Individuals Make Mistakes Abstract: This paper analyses the optimal tax policy and public provision of private goods when individuals," Working Papers 212, Palkansaajien tutkimuslaitos, Labour Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2008. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(2), pages 218-244, June.
    3. Martin C. Hänsel & Max Franks & Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2021. "Optimal Carbon Taxation and Horizontal Equity: A Welfare-Theoretic Approach with Application to German Household Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 8931, CESifo.
    4. Roland Hodler, 2009. "Redistribution and Inequality in a Heterogeneous Society," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 704-718, October.
    5. Henrik Jordahl & Luca Micheletto, 2005. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(4), pages 681-708, October.
    6. Bastani, Spencer & Blomquist, Sören & Micheletto, Luca, 2010. "Public Provision of Private Goods, Tagging and Optimal Income Taxation with Heterogeneity in Needs," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2010:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Pierre Salmon, 2003. "The assignment of powers in an open-ended European Union," Post-Print hal-00445601, HAL.
    8. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2008. "Pawns and queens revisited: public provision of private goods when individuals make mistakes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(5), pages 599-619, October.
    9. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Family Taxation, Fertility, and Horizontal Equity: A Political Economy Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 3774, CESifo.
    10. Hodler, Roland, 2008. "Leisure and redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 354-363, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    horizontal equity; optimal taxation; heterogeneous preferences; utilitarianism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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