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Optimal Marginal Income Tax Reforms: A Microsimulation Analysis

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  • John Creedy & Nicolas Herault

Abstract

Extensive research has shown that few robust results regarding the optimal tax structure are available. Moreover, the stylised models used in optimal tax analyses are not appropriate for practical policy advice. This paper proposes a method of examining optimal marginal income tax reforms using behavioural microsimulation models in which the full extent of population heterogeneity is represented along with all the details of highly complex tax and transfer systems. The approach is illustrated using the Australian microsimulation model MITTS. The results show that the marginal welfare changes for the Australian income tax structure are not symmetric with respect to increases and decreases in tax rates, largely because of the asymmetry in tax revenue changes arising from differential labour supply effects in different ranges of the income distribution. In addition, the extent of inequality aversion was found to play a much larger role in the determination of the optimal direction of rate changes than the form of the welfare metric or the specification of adult equivalence scales.

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy & Nicolas Herault, 2009. "Optimal Marginal Income Tax Reforms: A Microsimulation Analysis," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1080, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1080
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Figari, Francesco, 2011. "From housewives to independent earners: can the tax system help Italian women to work?," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; marginal reforms; behavioural microsimulation; social welfare function; money metric utility.;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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