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Marginal deadweight loss when the income tax is nonlinear

Author

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  • Sören Blomquist

    (Uppsala Universitet [Uppsala])

  • Laurent Simula

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon - Saint-Etienne - ENS de Lyon - École normale supérieure de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Almost all theoretical work on how to calculate the marginal deadweight loss has been done for linear taxes and for variations in linear budget constraints. This is quite surprising since most income tax systems are nonlinear, generating nonlinear budget constraints. Instead of developing the proper procedure to calculate the marginal deadweight loss for variations in nonlinear income taxes a common procedure has been to linearize the nonlinear budget constraint and apply methods that are correct for variations in a linear income tax. Such a procedure leads to incorrect results. The main purpose of this paper is to show how to correctly calculate the marginal deadweight loss when the income tax is nonlinear. A second purpose is to evaluate the bias in results that obtains when the traditional linearization procedure is used. We perform calculations based on the 2006 US tax system and find that the relative deadweight loss caused by increasing existing tax rates is large but less than half of Feldstein’s (1999) estimates for the 1994 tax system.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Sören Blomquist & Laurent Simula, 2019. "Marginal deadweight loss when the income tax is nonlinear," Post-Print halshs-01644460, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01644460
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2018.12.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Optimal redistributive taxation with both extensive and intensive responses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1770-1805.
    2. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2013. "Measuring revenue responses to tax rate changes in multi-rate income tax systems: behavioural and structural factors," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(6), pages 974-991, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Miao, Dingquan & Selin, Håkan & Söderström, Martin, 2022. "Earnings responses to even higher taxes," Working Paper Series 2022:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Liang, Che-Yuan, 2018. "Taxes and Household Labor Supply: Estimating Distributional Effects of Nonlinear Prices on Multidimensional Choice," Working Paper Series 2018:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    6. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2020. "Estimating taxable income responses with elasticity heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    7. 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.
    8. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2013. "Measuring revenue responses to tax rate changes in multi-rate income tax systems: behavioural and structural factors," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(6), pages 974-991, December.
    9. Aart Gerritsen, 2024. "Optimal nonlinear taxation: a simpler approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 31(2), pages 486-510, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income tax;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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