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Optimal income taxation with composition effects

Listed author(s):
  • Jacquet, Laurence M.
  • Lehmann, Etienne

We study the optimal nonlinear income tax problem with multidimensional individual characteristics on which taxes cannot be conditioned. We obtain an optimal tax formula that generalizes the standard one by averaging, with specific weights, the sufficient statistics of individuals who earn the same income. Our first main contribution consists in showing that multidimensional heterogeneity brings a new source of endogeneity to the sufficient statistics that we call composition effects. We highlight that composition effects may substantially affect optimal marginal tax rates. Our results put the stress on the need for empirical studies on sufficient statistics for different demographic groups e.g., according to gender, age, ethnicity. As a second main contribution, we show the equivalence between the tax perturbation and mechanism design approaches which bridges the gap between both methods that have, so far, been used separately in the literature.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 12276.

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Date of creation: Sep 2017
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12276
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  1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348, March.
  2. Kory Kroft & Kucko Kavan & Etienne Lehmann & Johannes Schmieder, 2015. "Optimal Income Taxation with Unemployment and Wage Responses: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," Working Papers hal-01292126, HAL.
  3. Nathaniel Hendren, 2014. "Efficient Welfare Weights," NBER Working Papers 20351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin F. Hellwig, 2010. "Incentive Problems With Unidimensional Hidden Characteristics: A Unified Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1201-1237, 07.
  5. Salanié, Bernard, 2011. "The Economics of Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262016346, January.
  6. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  7. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from TRA86," NBER Working Papers 5000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 170-174, May.
  9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
  10. Garrett, Daniel F. & Pavan, Alessandro, 2015. "Dynamic managerial compensation: A variational approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 775-818.
  11. A.B. Atkinson & A. Casarico & S. Voitchovsky, 2016. "Top Incomes and the Gender Divide," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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