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Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity

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  • Jordahl, Henrik

    (Department of Economics)

  • Micheletto, Luca

    () (L. Bocconi University)

Abstract

We impose a horizontal equity restriction on the problem of finding the optimal utilitarian tax mix. The horizontal equity constraint requires that individuals with the same ability have to pay the same amount of taxes regardless of their preferences for leisure. Contrary to normal findings, we find that a good that is complementary to leisure need not be discouraged by the tax system, and that a good that normally should be discouraged by the tax system need not be taxed at a positive rate even if the economy is composed of only two private commodities plus leisure. Similarly, the marginal effective tax rate need not be equal to zero at the top when the tax mix obeys the horizontal equity constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordahl, Henrik & Micheletto, Luca, 2002. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Ratio Working Papers 17, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0017
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    Cited by:

    1. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2008. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(2), pages 218-244, June.
    2. Roland Hodler, 2009. "Redistribution and Inequality in a Heterogeneous Society," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 704-718, October.
    3. Henrik Jordahl & Luca Micheletto, 2005. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(4), pages 681-708, October.
    4. Bastani, Spencer & Blomquist, Sören & Micheletto, Luca, 2010. "Public Provision of Private Goods, Tagging and Optimal Income Taxation with Heterogeneity in Needs," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2010:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    5. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2008. "Pawns and queens revisited: public provision of private goods when individuals make mistakes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(5), pages 599-619, October.
    6. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Family Taxation, Fertility, and Horizontal Equity: A Political Economy Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 3774, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Hodler, Roland, 2008. "Leisure and redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 354-363, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    horizontal equity; optimal taxation; heterogeneous preferences; utilitarianism;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • 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

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