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Optimal Taxation, Inequality and Top Incomes

Author

Listed:
  • Andrienko, Yuri

    (University of Sydney)

  • Apps, Patricia

    (University of Sydney)

  • Rees, Ray

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

In a number of high-income countries over the past few decades there has been a large growth in income inequality and at the same time a shift in the burden of taxation from the top to the middle of the income distribution. This paper applies the theory of optimal piecewise linear taxation to the issue of the taxation of top incomes. Our results suggest that an appropriate response to rising inequality is a shift towards a more progressive multi-bracket income tax system, with a more differentiated structure of rates in the top percentiles.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrienko, Yuri & Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2014. "Optimal Taxation, Inequality and Top Incomes," IZA Discussion Papers 8275, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8275
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2012. "Optimal Taxation, Child Care and Models of the Household," IZA Discussion Papers 6823, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747.
    3. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
    5. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    6. Patricia Apps & Ngo Long & Ray Rees, 2014. "Optimal Piecewise Linear Income Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(4), pages 523-545, August.
    7. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284.
    8. Josh Bivens & Lawrence Mishel, 2013. "The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 57-78, Summer.
    9. Bev Dahlby, 2008. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042509.
    10. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1989. "Note on the shape of the optimum income tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 201-215, November.
    11. Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Buttrick, Steve & Duncan, Denvil, 2010. "Global Reform of Personal Income Taxation, 1981–2005: Evidence From 189 Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(3), pages 447-478, September.
    12. Boadway, Robin, 2012. "From Optimal Tax Theory to Tax Policy: Retrospective and Prospective Views," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262017113.
    13. Dahlby, Bev, 1998. "Progressive taxation and the social marginal cost of public funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 105-122, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felix FitzRoy & Jim Jin, 2017. "Higher Tax for Top Earners," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 121-136, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal taxation; income distribution; top incomes; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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