IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Distortionary Taxation and the Free-Rider Problem

  • Felix Bierbrauer


    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Registered author(s):

    This paper derives a version of the Samuelson rule, which takes not only the marginal costs of public funds into account but also the desirability of preference revelation. Under a linear income tax more able individuals suffer from a larger utility loss if taxes are raised to cover the cost of public good provision. This implies that these individuals are tempted to understate their valuation of the public good. Likewise, less productive individuals are inclined to exaggerate their valuation. These incentive concerns require the use of excessive taxes. They ensure a truthful revelation of preferences for the public good. Under an optimal utilitarian tax constitution, individuals are not granted influence on public good provision if the taxes needed to induce informative behavior are prohibitively high.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2006_6.

    in new window

    Length: 28 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2006_06
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn
    Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
    Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Felix Bierbrauer, 2005. "Optimal Income Taxation and Public Good Provision in a Two-Class Economy," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_25, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stern, N H, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 119-28, January.
    3. Green, Jerry & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1977. "Characterization of Satisfactory Mechanisms for the Revelation of Preferences for Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 427-38, March.
    4. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU , Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Direct versus indirect taxation: the design of the tax structure revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1528, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Martin Hellwig, 2004. "Optimal Income Taxation, Public-Goods Provision and Public-Sector Pricing: A Contribution to the Foundations of Public Economics," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2004_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    6. Armstrong, Mark & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Multi-dimensional screening:: A user's guide," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 959-979, April.
    7. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
    8. Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Public Good Provision with Limited Lump-Sum Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 153-66, March.
    9. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
    10. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
    11. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jeffrey C. Ely & Kim-Sau Chung, 2004. "Foundations of Dominant Strategy Mechanisms," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 169, Econometric Society.
    13. Martin F. Hellwig, 2003. "Public-Good Provision with Many Participants," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 589-614, 07.
    14. Nava, Mario & Schroyen, Fred & Marchand, Maurice, 1996. "Optimal fiscal and public expenditure policy in a two-class economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 119-137, July.
    15. Edward Clarke, 1971. "Multipart pricing of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 17-33, September.
    16. Gaube, Thomas, 2000. "When do distortionary taxes reduce the optimal supply of public goods?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 151-180, May.
    17. Hellwig, Martin F., 1986. "The optimal linear income tax revisited," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 163-179, November.
    18. Ehud Kalai, 2002. "Large Robust Games," Discussion Papers 1350, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2006_06. 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: (Marc Martin)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.