IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp8781.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal Spatial Taxation: Are Big Cities Too Small?

Author

Listed:
  • Eeckhout, Jan

    () (Pompeu Fabra University)

  • Guner, Nezih

    () (CEMFI, Madrid)

Abstract

We analyze the role of optimal income taxation across different local labor markets. Should labor in large cities be taxed differently than in small cities? We find that a planner who needs to raise revenue and is constrained by free mobility of labor across cities does not choose equal taxes for cities of different sizes. The optimal tax schedule is location specific and tax differences between large and small cities depend on the level of government spending and on the concentration of housing wealth. Our estimates for the US imply higher marginal rates in big cities, but lower than what is observed. Simulating the US economy under the optimal tax schedule, there are large effects on population mobility: the fraction of population in the 5 largest cities grows by 8.0% with 3.5% of the country-wide population moving to bigger cities. The welfare gains however are smaller. Aggregate consumption goes up by 1.53%. This is due to the fact that much of the output gains are spent on the increased costs of housing construction in bigger cities. Aggregate housing consumption goes down by 1.75%.

Suggested Citation

  • Eeckhout, Jan & Guner, Nezih, 2015. "Optimal Spatial Taxation: Are Big Cities Too Small?," IZA Discussion Papers 8781, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8781
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp8781.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Serdar Ozkan, 2014. "Taxation of Human Capital and Wage Inequality: A Cross-Country Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 818-850.
    3. Jan Eeckhout & Roberto Pinheiro & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2014. "Spatial Sorting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 554-620.
    4. Owen Zidar & Juan Carlos Serrato & Eduardo Morales & Pablo Fajgelbaum, 2015. "State Taxes and Spatial Misallocation," 2015 Meeting Papers 877, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. David Albouy, 2008. "Are Big Cities Bad Places to Live? Estimating Quality of Life across Metropolitan Areas," NBER Working Papers 14472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Glaeser, E. L., 1998. "Should transfer payments be indexed to local price levels?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Owen Zidar & Juan Carlos Serrato & Eduardo Morales & Pablo Fajgelbaum, 2015. "State Taxes and Spatial Misallocation," 2015 Meeting Papers 877, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Borck, Rainald & Tabuchi, Takatoshi, 2015. "Pollution and city size: can cities be too small?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113124, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Colas, Mark & Hutchinson, Kevin, 2017. "Heterogeneous Workers and Federal Income Taxes in a Spatial Equilibrium," Working Papers 3, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.
    4. Parkhomenko, Andrii, 2016. "Opportunity to Move: Macroeconomic Effects of Relocation Subsidies," MPRA Paper 75256, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Devin Bunten, 2017. "Is the Rent Too High? Aggregate Implications of Local Land-Use Regulation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-064, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    6. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Cecile Gaubert, 2018. "Optimal Spatial Policies, Geography and Sorting," 2018 Meeting Papers 1319, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    misallocation; taxation; population mobility; city size; general equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

    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:iza:izadps:dp8781. 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: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    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.