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A Theory of Top Income Taxation and Social Insurance

Author

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  • Francisco M. Gonzalez
  • Jean-Francois Wen

    (University of Calgary)

Abstract

The development of the welfare state in the Western economies between 1930 and 1990 coincided with a puzzling pattern in the taxation of top incomes. Effective tax rates at the top increased sharply but then gradually decreased, even as social transfers continued rising. We propose a new theory of the development of the welfare state to explain these facts. Our main insight is that social insurance and top income taxation are substitutes for averting social confl?ict. We emphasize the role of the Great Depression as a source of aggregate risk, and argue that the rise of the welfare state can be understood as a process of exploiting efficiency gains in response to gradual technological improvements in the provision of social insurance. Our detailed arguments build on the policy histories of the United States, Great Britain, and Sweden.
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Suggested Citation

  • Francisco M. Gonzalez & Jean-Francois Wen, "undated". "A Theory of Top Income Taxation and Social Insurance," Working Papers 2014-32, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 03 Feb 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2014-32
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    File URL: https://econ.ucalgary.ca/sites/econ.ucalgary.ca.manageprofile/files/unitis/publications/1-4875908/WenGonzalezOct13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Taras Vasyltsiv & Ruslan Lupak & Marta Kunytska-Iliash, 2019. "Social Security Of Ukraine And The Eu: Aspects Of Convergence And Improvement Of Migration Policy," Baltic Journal of Economic Studies, Publishing house "Baltija Publishing", vol. 5(4).
    3. Sheung-Chi Chow & Ma. Rebecca Valenzuela & Wing-Keung Wong, 2016. "New Tests for Richness and Poorness:A Stochastic Dominance Analysis of Income Distributions in Hong Kong," Monash Economics Working Papers 25-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State

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