IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/umnees/0886.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Publicly Provided Private Goods and Optimal Taxation when Consumers Have Positional Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Aronsson, Thomas

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law)

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal differential commodity taxation, together with optimal nonlinear income taxation, in order to deal with positional preferences. It also derives the optimal public provision of private goods both when differential commodity taxation is feasible and when it is not. It is shown that publicly provided non-positional private goods which are (possibly imperfect) substitutes for positional private goods should be used as a corrective instrument even if the tax system is optimal, i.e. even when differential commodity taxation is feasible. An exception is the special case where all consumers contribute equally much to the positional externality, in which the commodity tax constitutes a perfect instrument for internalizing the positional externality.

Suggested Citation

  • Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2014. "Publicly Provided Private Goods and Optimal Taxation when Consumers Have Positional Preferences," Umeå Economic Studies 886, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0886
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.umu.se/DownloadAsset.action?contentId=234891&languageId=3&assetKey=ues886
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diaz, Antonia & Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2003. "Precautionary savings and wealth distribution under habit formation preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1257-1291, September.
    2. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2006. "Honestly, why are you driving a BMW?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 129-146, June.
    3. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    4. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2009. "Status, affluence, and inequality: Rank-based comparisons in games of status," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 552-568, November.
    5. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1587-1621, September.
    6. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-116, March.
    7. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Goncalo Monteiro & Stephen J. Turnovsky, 2004. "Habit Formation, Catching Up with the Joneses, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 47-80, March.
    8. Robert H. Frank, 2005. "Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 137-141, May.
    9. Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson‐Stenman & Peter Martinsson, 2007. "Do You Enjoy Having More than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 586-598, November.
    10. Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 408-424, October.
    11. Acemoglu, Daron & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2011. "Political economy of Ramsey taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 467-475.
    12. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
    13. Wendner, Ronald, 2010. "Growth And Keeping Up With The Joneses," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(S2), pages 176-199, November.
    14. KennethJ. Arrow & ParthaS. Dasgupta, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption, Inconspicuous Leisure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages 497-516, November.
    15. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    16. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
    17. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Fliessbach, Klaus & Sunde, Uwe & Weber, Bernd, 2011. "Relative versus absolute income, joy of winning, and gender: Brain imaging evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3-4), pages 279-285, April.
    18. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    19. Mary C. Daly & Daniel J. Wilson, 2009. "Happiness, Unhappiness, and Suicide: An Empirical Assessment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 539-549, 04-05.
    20. Andrew B. Abel, 2005. "Optimal Taxation when Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 21-42.
    21. Frank, Robert H., 2008. "Should public policy respond to positional externalities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1777-1786, August.
    22. Wendner, Ronald & Goulder, Lawrence H., 2008. "Status effects, public goods provision, and excess burden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1968-1985, October.
    23. Brett, Craig, 1998. "A note on nonlinear taxation in an overlapping generations model," MPRA Paper 8776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Pingle, Mark & Mitchell, Mike, 2002. "What motivates positional concerns for income?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 127-148, February.
    25. Redzo Mujcic & Paul Frijters, 2013. "Economic choices and status: measuring preferences for income rank," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 47-73, January.
    26. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2019. "Optimal nonlinear taxation of income and savings without commitment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 21(1), pages 5-43, February.
    27. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2013. "Conspicuous Leisure: Optimal Income Taxation When Both Relative Consumption and Relative Leisure Matter," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(1), pages 155-175, January.
    28. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-750, December.
    29. Carroll, Christopher D & Overland, Jody & Weil, David N, 1997. "Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 339-367, December.
    30. Wendner, Ronald, 2011. "Will the consumption externalities' effects in the Ramsey model please stand up?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 210-212, June.
    31. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    32. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
    33. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson‐Stenman, 2010. "Positional Concerns In An Olg Model: Optimal Labor And Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1071-1095, November.
    34. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
    35. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1993. "Interdependent behavior and the effect of taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 211-218, June.
    36. Gomez, Manuel A., 2006. "Optimal consumption taxation in a model of endogenous growth with external habit formation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 427-435, December.
    37. Paul Eckerstorfer, 2014. "Relative Consumption Concerns and the Optimal Tax Mix," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(6), pages 936-958, December.
    38. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
    39. Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Information-Based Relative Consumption Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 93-118, January.
    40. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2001. "On optimal non-linear taxation and public good provision in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 485-501, March.
    41. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
    42. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    43. Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Altruism, jealousy and the theory of optimal non-linear taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-87, February.
    44. Wendner, Ronald, 2010. "Conspicuous consumption and generation replacement in a model of perpetual youth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1093-1107, December.
    45. Sara J. Solnick & David Hemenway, 2005. "Are Positional Concerns Stronger in Some Domains than in Others?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 147-151, May.
    46. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2001. " Status, the Distribution of Wealth, and Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 283-293, June.
    47. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    48. Diaz, Antonia & Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2003. "Precautionary savings and wealth distribution under habit formation preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1257-1291, September.
    49. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
    50. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    51. 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.
    52. 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.
    53. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
    54. Ireland, N. J., 2001. "Optimal income tax in the presence of status effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 193-212, August.
    55. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
    56. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    57. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1987. "Relative-Income Effects and the Appropriate Level of Public Expenditure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 293-300, June.
    58. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2014. "Positional preferences in time and space: Optimal income taxation with dynamic social comparisons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 1-23.
    2. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2014. "State-variable public goods and social comparisons," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 390-410.
    3. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2013. "Veblen’s theory of the leisure class revisited: implications for optimal income taxation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(3), pages 551-578, September.
    4. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2014. "When Samuelson Met Veblen Abroad: National and Global Public Good Provision when Social Comparisons Matter," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(322), pages 224-243, April.
    5. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, olof, 2013. "State-Variable Public Goods and Social Comparisons over Time," Working Papers in Economics 555, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2014. "Genuine Saving and Conspicuous Consumption," Working Papers in Economics 605, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    7. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson‐Stenman, 2010. "Positional Concerns In An Olg Model: Optimal Labor And Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1071-1095, November.
    8. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2015. "Keeping up with the Joneses, the Smiths and the Tanakas: On international tax coordination and social comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 71-86.
    9. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2014. "Paternalism against Veblen: Optimal Taxation and Non-Respected Preferences for Social Comparisons," Working Papers in Economics 606, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    10. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Positional Concerns with Multiple Reference Points: Optimal Income Taxation and Public Goods in an OLG Model," Working Papers in Economics 304, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    11. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2011. "State-Variable Public Goods When Relative Consumption Matters: A Dynamic Optimal Taxation Approach," Umeå Economic Studies 828, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    12. Thomas Aronsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2013. "Conspicuous Leisure: Optimal Income Taxation When Both Relative Consumption and Relative Leisure Matter," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(1), pages 155-175, January.
    13. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Sterner, Thomas, 2015. "Discounting and relative consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 19-33.
    14. 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.
    15. Paul Eckerstorfer, 2014. "Relative Consumption Concerns and the Optimal Tax Mix," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(6), pages 936-958, December.
    16. Eckerstorfer, Paul & Wendner, Ronald, 2013. "Asymmetric and non-atmospheric consumption externalities, and efficient consumption taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 42-56.
    17. Mujcic, Redzo & Frijters, Paul, 2015. "Conspicuous consumption, conspicuous health, and optimal taxation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 59-70.
    18. Ronald Wendner, 2014. "Ramsey, Pigou, Heterogeneous Agents, and Nonatmospheric Consumption Externalities," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(3), pages 491-521, June.
    19. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
    20. Corazzini, Luca & Esposito, Lucio & Majorano, Francesca, 2012. "Reign in hell or serve in heaven? A cross-country journey into the relative vs absolute perceptions of wellbeing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 715-730.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public provision of private goods; income taxation; commodity taxation; relative consumption; asymmetric information; status; positional goods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0886. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Skog). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inumuse.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.