Fair income tax
In a model where agents have unequal skills and heterogeneous preferences over consumption and leisure, we look for the optimal tax on the basis of efficiency and fairness principles and under incentive-compatibility constraints. The fairness principles considered here are: 1) a weak version of the Pigou-Dalton transfer principle; 2) a condition precluding redistribution when all agents have the same skills. With such principles we construct and justify specific social preferences and derive a simple criterion for the evaluation of income tax schedules. Namely, the lower the greatest average tax rate over the range of low incomes, the better. We show that, as a consequence, the optimal tax should give the greatest subsidies to the working poor (the agents having the lowest skill and choosing the largest labor time).
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|Note:||In : Review of Economic Studies, 73, 55-83, 2006|
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