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Optimal Income Taxation and Social Norms in the Labor Market

  • Aronsson, Thomas

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

  • Sjögren, Tomas

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

This paper concerns optimal income taxation in a two-type model extended to allow for social interaction and social norms in the labor market. One type of norm relates to the hours of work among the employed, and we assume that there is a cost associated with deviating from 'normal behavior' (defined in terms of the average hours of work). Another type of norm refers to the pressure of earning one's living by working, where social interaction means that the perceived cost of being out of employment depends on the share of nonworkers in the population. The results show how, and why, the existence of social norms may modify results derived in earlier literature. Under reasonable assumptions, the norm referring to normal behavior in term of work hours provides an incentive for the government to increase the hours of work supplied by the high-ability type relative to the hours of work supplied by the low-ability type, whereas the norm of 'earning one's living by working' strengthens the employment-motive behind tax policy.

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Paper provided by Umeå University, Department of Economics in its series Umeå Economic Studies with number 672.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 13 Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0672
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Department of Economics, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Phone: 090 - 786 61 42
Fax: 090 - 77 23 02
Web page: http://www.econ.umu.se/
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  1. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
  2. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2002. "Social Norms and Welfare State Dynamics," Working Paper Series 585, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Annegrete Bruvoll & Karine Nyborg, 2004. "The Cold Shiver of Not Giving Enough: On the Social Cost of Recycling Campaigns," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(4).
  4. Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
  5. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  6. Woittiez, Isolde & Kapteyn, Arie, 1998. "Social interactions and habit formation in a model of female labour supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 185-205, November.
  7. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
  8. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1997. "Wage bargaining, labor-tax progression, and welfare," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 127-150, June.
  10. Jakee, Keith & Sun, Guang-Zhen, 2005. "External habit formation and dependency in the welfare state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 83-98, March.
  11. Aronsson, Thomas & Blomquist, Soren & Sacklen, Hans, 1999. "Identifying Interdependent Behaviour in an Empirical Model of Labour Supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 607-26, Nov.-Dec..
  12. Lindbeck, A., 1994. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Papers 589, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  13. Howarth, Richard B., 2006. "Optimal environmental taxes under relative consumption effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 209-219, June.
  14. Aronsson, Thomas & Sjögren, Tomas, 2002. "Is the Optimal Labor Income Tax Progressive in a Unionized Economy?," Umeå Economic Studies 587, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  15. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  16. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1993. "Interdependent behavior and the effect of taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 211-218, June.
  17. Ronald Wendner, 2004. "Frames of reference, the environment, and efficient taxation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 13-31, January.
  18. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "When the Joneses' consumption hurts: Optimal public good provision and nonlinear income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 986-997, June.
  19. Aronsson, T. & Blomquist, N.S. & Sacklen, H., 1992. "How to Identify Interdependence Behavior in an Empirical Model of Labor Supply," Papers 1992-5, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
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