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Optimal Income Tax under the Threat of Migration by Top-Income Earners

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  • Alain Trannoy, Laurent Simula and

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

We examine how allowing individuals to emigrate to pay lower taxes changes the optimal nonlinear income tax scheme in a Mirrleesian economy. An individual emigrates if his domestic utility is less than his utility abroad, net of migration costs – utilities and costs both depending on productivity. A simple formula, that complements Saez’s formula obtained in closed economy, is derived for the marginal tax rates faced by top-income earners. It depends on the labour elasticity, the tax rate abroad and the migration costs expressed as a fraction of the utility obtained abroad. The Rawlsian marginal tax rates, obtained for the whole population, illustrate a curse of the middle-skilled. Simulations are provided for the French economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Trannoy, Laurent Simula and, 2009. "Optimal Income Tax under the Threat of Migration by Top-Income Earners," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2009:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2009_008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Income Taxation; Top income; Emigration; Participation Constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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