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Politically feasible reforms of non-linear tax systems

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  • Bierbrauer, Felix
  • Boyer, Pierre

Abstract

We present a conceptual framework for the analysis of politically feasible tax reforms. First, we prove a median voter theorem for monotonic reforms of non-linear tax systems. This yields a characterization of reforms that are preferred by a majority of individuals over the status quo and hence politically feasible. Second, we show that every Pareto-efficient tax system is such that moving towards lower tax rates for below-median incomes and towards higher rates for above median incomes is politically feasible. Third, we develop a method for diagnosing whether a given tax system admits reforms that are politically feasible and/or welfare-improving.

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  • Bierbrauer, Felix & Boyer, Pierre, 2018. "Politically feasible reforms of non-linear tax systems," CEPR Discussion Papers 13059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13059
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne, 2021. "How to Tax Different Incomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 14739, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2022. "Generalized Pareto Curves: Theory and Applications," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(1), pages 263-288, March.
    3. Blesse, Sebastian & Buhlmann, Florian & Doerrenberg, Philipp, 2019. "Do people really want a simple tax system? Evidence on preferences towards income tax simplification," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-058, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2021. "Pareto-improving structural reforms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    5. Vidar Christiansen & Zhiyang Jia & Thor O. Thoresen, 2022. "Assessing income tax perturbations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(2), pages 472-504, April.
    6. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2021. "Optimal Income Taxation with Composition Effects," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 1299-1341.
    7. Egor Malkov, 2021. "Welfare Effects of the Labor Income Tax Changes on Married Couples: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," Working Papers 590, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    8. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2021. "Taxes and Turnout: When the Decisive Voter Stays at Home," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 071, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    9. Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre Boyer & Andrew Lonsdale & Andreas Peichl, 2021. "Tax Reforms and Political Feasibility," Post-Print halshs-03364050, HAL.
    10. Mehmet Ayaz & Lea Fricke & Clemens Fuest & Dominik Sachs, 2021. "Who Should Bear the Burden of Covid-19 Related Fiscal Pressure? An Optimal Income Taxation Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 9420, CESifo.
    11. Chirvi, Malte & Schneider, Cornelius, 2019. "Stated preferences for capital taxation - tax design, misinformation and the role of partisanship," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 242, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    12. Anesi, Vincent & Bowen, T. Renee, 2018. "Policy Experimentation, Redistribution and Voting Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 12797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2020. "Majority rule and selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with discrete skill levels," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 54(2), pages 337-362, March.
    14. Stefan Steinerberger & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2019. "Tax Mechanisms and Gradient Flows," NBER Working Papers 25821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Harms, Philipp & Landwehr, Claudia, 2020. "Is money where the fun ends? Material interests and individuals’ preference for direct democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    16. Egor Malkov, 2021. "Welfare Effects of Labor Income Tax Changes on Married Couples: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," Papers 2108.09981, arXiv.org, revised Sep 2021.
    17. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas D. Werquin, 2017. "Taxes and Turnout," NBER Working Papers 24123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2021. "Taxes and Turnout: When the Decisive Voter Stays at Home," CESifo Working Paper Series 8954, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Non-linear income taxation; optimal taxation; political economy; Tax Reforms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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