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Dynamic Optimal Income Taxation With Government Commitment

  • BRITO, D.L.
  • HAMILTON, J.H.
  • SLUTSKY, S.H.
  • STIGLITZ, J.E.

The optimal income taxation problem has been extensively studied in one-period models. This paper analyzes optimal income taxation when consumers work for many periods. We also analyze what information, if any, that the government learns about abilities in one period can be used in later periods to attain more redistribution than in a one-period world. When the government must commit itself to future tax schedules, intertemporal nonstationarity of tax schedules could relax the self-selection constraints and lead to Pareto improvements. The effect of nonstationarity is analogous to that of randomization in one-period models. The use of information is limited since only a single lifetime self-selection constraint for each type of consumer exists. These results hold when individuals and the government have the same discount rates. The planner can make additional use of the information when individual and social rates of time discounting differ. In this case, the limiting tax schedule is a nondistorting one if the government has a lower discount rate than individuals.

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Paper provided by Florida - College of Business Administration in its series Papers with number 89-8.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 1989
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:florbu:89-8
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, GAINESVILLE FLORIDA 33620 U.S.A.
Phone: (352) 392-2397 x1399
Fax: (352) 392-2086
Web page: http://warrington.ufl.edu/
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  1. Guesnerie Roger & Seade Jesus, 1981. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8118, CEPREMAP.
  2. Dagobert L. Brito & Jonathan H. Hamilton & Steven M. Slutsky & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1990. "Randomization in Optimal Income Tax Schedules," NBER Working Papers 3289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard Arnott & Joseph E Stiglitz, 2010. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2054, David K. Levine.
  4. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Sadka, Efraim, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 261-67, June.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  9. John C. Fellingham & Young K. Kwon & D. Paul Newman, 1984. "Ex ante Randomization in Agency Models," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 290-301, Summer.
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