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Optimal income taxation : An ordinal approach

In a model where agents have unequal production skills and different preferences, we build social welfare functions which rely only on ordinal non-comparable information on individual preferences. Social welfare functions are required to satisfy properties of compensation for inequalities in skills, and responsibility for preferences. Then, assuming skills and preferences are unobservable, we use these social welfare functions to design optimal income tax schemes. We obtain ethical foundations for, among others, a maximized minimal income, a zero marginal tax rate for low incomes, and increasing marginal tax rates.

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Paper provided by THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise in its series THEMA Working Papers with number 99-43.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:99-43
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  1. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2008. "Fair social orderings," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 25-45, January.
  2. Bossert, W. & Fleurbaey, M. & Van de gaer, D., 1996. "On Second-Best Compensation," Papers 9607, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  3. Kaneko, Mamoru & Nakamura, Kenjiro, 1979. "The Nash Social Welfare Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 423-35, March.
  4. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Possibility Theorems with Interpersonally Comparable Welfare Levels," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 409-20, January.
  5. Fleurbaey, Marc & Maniquet, Francois, 1996. "Fair allocation with unequal production skills: The No Envy approach to compensation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 71-93, August.
  6. 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.
  7. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2000. "Fair Social Orderings With Unequal Production Skills," THEMA Working Papers 2000-17, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
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