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Measuring the Deadweight Loss from Taxation in a Small Open Economy. A general method with an application to Sweden

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  • Peter Birch Sørensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

The paper develops a simple general equilibrium framework for calculating the marginal deadweight loss from taxation in a small open economy. The framework allows a decomposition of the deadweight loss from each tax instrument into the losses stemming from the contraction of the different tax bases. The paper describes a method of calibrating the model which exploits the links between the various factor supply elasticities implied by the standard life cycle model. It also develops a method of estimating effective tax rates that is consistent with optimising household and firm behaviour. To illustrate how the model works, it is calibrated to a data set for Sweden. The quantitative results highlight the importance of accounting for the interaction between the major tax bases when estimating deadweight loss.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Birch Sørensen, 2011. "Measuring the Deadweight Loss from Taxation in a Small Open Economy. A general method with an application to Sweden," EPRU Working Paper Series 2011-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:11-03
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/eprn_epru/Workings_Papers/wp-11-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diewert, W Erwin, 1983. " The Measurement of Waste within the Production Sector of an Open Economy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(2), pages 159-179.
    2. E. Philip Howrey & Saul H. Hymans, 1978. "The Measurement and Determination of Loanable-Funds Saving," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(3), pages 655-685.
    3. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
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    5. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-706, September.
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    7. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
    8. James R. Hines, 1999. "Three Sides of Harberger Triangles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 167-188, Spring.
    9. Shoven, John B. & Whalley, John, 1972. "A general equilibrium calculation of the effects of differential taxation of income from capital in the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 281-321, November.
    10. Hansson, Ingemar, 1984. " Marginal Cost of Public Funds for Different Tax Instruments and Government Expenditures," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(2), pages 115-130.
    11. Ballard, Charles L. & Fullerton, Don & Shoven, John B. & Whalley, John, 2009. "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226036335.
    12. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Rate of Return, Taxation and Personal Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(351), pages 482-487, September.
    13. Lawrence H. Goulder & Roberton C. Williams III, 2003. "The Substantial Bias from Ignoring General Equilibrium Effects in Estimating Excess Burden, and a Practical Solution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 898-927, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deadweight loss; tax policy in a small open economy;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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