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Optimal Nonlinear Income Tax and Nonlinear Pricing: Optimality Conditions and Comparative Static Properties

  • Simula, Laurent

    ()

    (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

Using the Mirrlees optimal income tax model, with no income effects on labour supply, this article shows that the discrete population approach provides new insights into the characterization of the optimal tax system, which complements the previous findings. The analysis is based on the "Spence-Mirrlees wedge" which corresponds, at each observed gross income level, to a ratio between the marginal tax rate of the individual for whom the bundle is designed and that of his nearest more productive neighbour if he chooses to mimic. Using this wedge, a necessary and sufficient condition for bunching to be optimal is obtained in terms of the primitives of the model, separating optima are characterized geometrically, and comparative statics properties derived, notably with respect to skill levels and individual social weights. It is then shown that the analysis extends to adverse-selection problems where participation constraints replace the tax revenue constraint.

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File URL: http://ucfs.nek.uu.se/digitalAssets/129/129498_wp200911.pdf
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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies with number 2009:11.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2009_011
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/Email:


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  1. Martin Hellwig, 2005. "The Undesirability of Randomized Income Taxation under Decreasing Risk Aversion," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_27, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
  3. Guesnerie Roger & Seade Jesus, 1981. "Nonlinear pricing in a finite economy," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8118, CEPREMAP.
  4. Boadway, Robin & Cuff, Katherine & Marchand, Maurice, 2000. " Optimal Income Taxation with Quasi-linear Preferences Revisited," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 435-60.
  5. Diamond, P., 1994. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Exemple with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," Working papers 94-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan Hamilton & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Optimal Income Taxation and the Ability Distribution: Implications for Migration Equilibria," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, January.
  9. Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1989. "The Economics of Uncertainty and Information," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121360, August.
  10. Weymark, John A., 1986. "A reduced-form optimal nonlinear income tax problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-217, July.
  11. Richard Blundell, 1992. "Labour supply and taxation: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 15-40, January.
  12. Menegatti, Mario, 2001. "On the Conditions for Precautionary Saving," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 189-193, May.
  13. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  14. Craig Brett & John Weymark, 2007. "The Impact of Changing Skill Levels on Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxes," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0708, .
  15. Weymark, John A, 1987. "Comparative Static Properties of Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1165-85, September.
  16. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  17. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059, March.
  18. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2008. "The impact of changing skill levels on optimal nonlinear income taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1765-1771, July.
  19. Lollivier, Stefan & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1983. "Bunching and second-order conditions: A note on optimal tax theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 392-400, December.
  20. Boone, J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 2007. "The simple economics of bunching. Optimal taxation with quasi-linear preferences," Other publications TiSEM 85032fa4-f8bb-4885-bb49-3, School of Economics and Management.
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