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Pareto Improving Taxes

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    We show that in almost every economy with separable externalities, every competitive equilibrium can be Pareto improved by a package of anonymous commodity taxes that cause prices to adjust and markets to reclear at different levels of individual consumption. The argument can be extended to economies with strategic interactions, incomplete asset markets or asymmetric information. This constrained suboptimality of competitive allocations might provide a rationale for economic policy in economies with externalities.

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    Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1576.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2006
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Journal of Mathematical Economics (2008), 44: 682-696
    Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1576
    Note: CFP 1235.
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    Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

    Phone: (203) 432-3702
    Fax: (203) 432-6167
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    Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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    3. Geanakoplos, J. D. & Polemarchakis, H. M., 1990. "Observability and optimality," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 153-165.
    4. Pierre-André Chiappori & Ivar Ekeland & Felix Kübler & Heracles M. Polemarchakis, 1999. "The Identification of Preferences from Equilibrium Prices," Working Papers hal-00598229, HAL.
    5. Snyder, Susan K., 1999. "Testable restrictions of Pareto optimal public good provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 97-119, January.
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    7. Alberto Bisin & John Geanakoplos & Piero Gottardi & Enrico Minelli & Heracles Polemarchakis, 2009. "Markets and Contracts," Working Papers 0915, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
    8. Andrés Carvajal, 2004. "Testable Restrictions of General Equilibrium Theory in Exchange Economies with Externalities," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/28, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Nov 2004.
    9. Alessandro Citanna & Heracles M. Polemarchakis & M. Tirelli, 2006. "The taxation of trades in assets," Post-Print halshs-00009847, HAL.
    10. Debreu, Gerard, 1970. "Economies with a Finite Set of Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 387-92, May.
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    15. Peter A. Diamond, 1973. "Consumption Externalities and Imperfect Corrective Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 526-538, Autumn.
    16. Hurwicz, Leonid, 1973. "The Design of Mechanisms for Resource Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 1-30, May.
    17. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    18. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    19. Debreu, Gerard, 1972. "Smooth Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(4), pages 603-15, July.
    20. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    22. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
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    24. Hurwicz, Leonid, 1979. "On allocations attainable through Nash equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 140-165, August.
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