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Optimal redistribution with unobservable preferences for an observable merit good

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  • RACIONERO, Maria del Mar

Abstract

This paper considers a government thatseeks both to redistribute income and to encourage or discouragethe consumption of a certain good. This good is assumed to beeither a merit or demerit good. Individuals differ in their exogenousincome and in their preferences for the merit good. The onlyvariable the government can perfectly observe is each individual'sconsumption of the merit good. In order to account for meritgood considerations, we consider a modification of the utilitariansocial welfare function in which the government imposes uniformpreferences, despite the heterogeneous individual preferences,at a level which will depend on the merit or demerit nature ofthe observable good. We derive the optimal nonlinear redistributivepolicy and compare our results to the ones that would be obtainedunder a utilitarian social welfare function that respects theown preferences of individuals. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
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Suggested Citation

  • RACIONERO, Maria del Mar, 2000. "Optimal redistribution with unobservable preferences for an observable merit good," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1473, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:1473
    Note: In : International Tax and Public Finance, 7, 479-501, 2000
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1008733405651
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042 Elsevier.
    2. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    3. FLEURBAEY, Marc & MANIQUET, François, 1998. "Optimal income taxation: and ordinal approach," CORE Discussion Papers 1998065, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Helmuth Cremer & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau, 1996. "Interregional redistribution through tax surcharge," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(2), pages 157-173, May.
    5. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-377, May.
    6. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
    7. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
    8. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    9. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2006. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioural Public Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 849-868, December.
    2. Sao-Wen Cheng & Andreas Wagener, 2000. "Altruism and Donations," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 92-00, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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