IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Indirect taxes for redistribution: should necessity goods be favored?

  • BOADWAY, Robin

    ()

    (Queen’s University, Canada & CESifo)

  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

    ()

    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and Université de Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium)

The Atkinson-Stiglitz Theorem shows that with weakly separable preferences, differential commod- ity taxes are not needed if an optimal nonlinear income tax is imposed. Redistributive objectives can be achieved with the income tax alone even if goods differ considerably in their income elasticities of demand. Deaton showed that if the government is restricted to a linear progressive income tax along with commodity taxes, the latter are superfluous if preferences are not only weakly separable but also yield linear Engel curves whose slopes are common to all households. These have potentially strong policy implications since they suggest that the common practice of giving preferential commodity tax treatment to necessities is not warranted. Using the linear progressive income tax as an example and assuming the Deaton conditions are satisfied, we derive two contradictory results. First, if the income tax is less progressive than optimal, necessities should be taxed preferentially relative to luxuries. Second, if low-income households are income-constrained so are unable to afford any luxury goods, it may be optimal to tax necessity goods at higher rates than luxuries, depending on whether labor supply varies along the intensive or extensive margin. The analysis is extended to allow for nonlinear taxes and endogenous demand for a public good.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/core/documents/coredp2011_66web.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2011066.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 31 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011066
Contact details of provider: Postal: Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Phone: 32(10)474321
Fax: +32 10474304
Web page: http://www.uclouvain.be/coreEmail:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Richard Arnott & Bruce Greenwald & Ravi Kanbur & Barry Nalebuff (ed.), 2003. "Economics for an Imperfect World: Essays in Honor of Joseph E. Stiglitz," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012057, June.
  2. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-79, September.
  3. Boadway, Robin & Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "Optimal taxation with consumption time as a leisure or labor substitute," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1851-1878, November.
  4. Bas Jacobs, 2010. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds is One," CESifo Working Paper Series 3250, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011066. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alain GILLIS)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.