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Signing distortions in optimal tax and other adverse selection problems with random participation

  • Laurence JACQUET


    (THEMA - University of Cergy-Pontoise, UCL-IRES, UCL-Hoover Chair and CESifo)

  • Etienne LEHMANN





    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), IZA and ERMES Université Paris 2)

We develop a methodology to sign output distortions in the random participation framework. We apply our method to monopoly nonlinear pricing problem, to the regulatory monopoly problem and mainly to the optimal income tax problem. In the latter framework, individuals are heterogeneous across two unobserved dimensions: their skill and their disutility of participation to the labor market. We derive a fairly mild condition for optimal marginal tax rates to be non negative everywhere, implying that in-work effort is distorted downwards. Numerical simulations for the U.S. confirm this property. Moreover, it is typically optimal to provide a distinct level of transfer to the non-employed and to workers with zero or negligible earnings.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2012003.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 13 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012003
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  1. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
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  6. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Welfare reform in European countries: a micro-simulation analysis," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  7. Philippe Chone & Guy Laroque, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2001-26, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  8. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
  9. Kleven, Henrik & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2006. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Hours of Work versus Labor Force Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Robin Boadway & Laurence Jacquet, 2006. "Optimal Marginal and Average Income Taxation under Maxi-min," Working Papers 1073, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  11. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  12. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
  13. Polachek,Solomon W. & Siebert,W. Stanley, 1993. "The Economics of Earnings," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521367288.
  14. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
  15. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  16. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
  17. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  18. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Stole, Lars A, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311, January.
  19. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  20. Choné, Philippe & Laroque, Guy, 2011. "Optimal taxation in the extensive model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 425-453, March.
  21. Robin Boadway & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau & María del Mar Racionero, 2002. "Optimal Redistribution with Heterogeneous Preferences for Leisure," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 475-498, October.
  22. Bernard Salanié, 2003. "The Economics of Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262194864, June.
  23. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Monopoly regulation without the Spence-Mirrlees assumption," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(9-10), pages 693-700, September.
  24. Seade, Jesus, 1982. "On the Sign of the Optimum Marginal Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 637-43, October.
  25. Philippe Chone & Guy Laroque, 2010. "Negative Marginal Tax Rates and Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2532-47, December.
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