IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mpi/wpaper/tax-mpg-rps-2016-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal Nonlinear Taxation: The Dual Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Aart Gerritsen

Abstract

The usual method of solving for an optimal nonlinear tax schedule is that of the primal approach – ï¬ rst solving for the optimal allocation, and subsequently determining which tax system decentralizes this allocation. While this method is mathematically rigorous, it lacks intuitive appeal. I propose a different method based on the dual approach – directly solving for the optimal tax system – which is equally rigorous, while being much closer in spirit to actual tax policy. I show that this approach can easily incorporate preference heterogeneity, as well as individual behavior that is not fully consistent with utility maximization. Over and above solving for the optimum, the dual approach allows one to obtain new insights into the welfare effects of small nonlinear tax reforms outside the optimum.

Suggested Citation

  • Aart Gerritsen, 2016. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation: The Dual Approach," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-02, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:tax-mpg-rps-2016-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tax.mpg.de/RePEc/mpi/wpaper/TAX-MPG-RPS-2016-02.pdf
    File Function: Full text (original version)
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2015. "Optimal Income Taxation when Skills and Behavioral Elasticities are Heterogeneous," CESifo Working Paper Series 5265, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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.
    3. Etienne Lehmann & Laurent Simula & Alain Trannoy, 2014. "Tax me if you can! Optimal Nonlinear Income Tax Between Competing Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1995-2030.
    4. Blomquist, Soren & Micheletto, Luca, 2006. "Optimal redistributive taxation when government's and agents' preferences differ," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1215-1233, August.
    5. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    6. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Optimal redistributive taxation with both extensive and intensive responses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1770-1805.
    7. Alex Rees-Jones & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2016. "Measuring “Schmeduling”," NBER Working Papers 22884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059.
    9. Casey Rothschild & Florian Scheuer, 2016. "Optimal Taxation with Rent-Seeking," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1225-1262.
    10. Carlos E. da Costa & Iván Werning, 2008. "On the Optimality of the Friedman Rule with Heterogeneous Agents and Nonlinear Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 82-112, February.
    11. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Søren Leth-Petersen & Torben Heien Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2014. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1141-1219.
    12. Diamond, P. A., 1975. "A many-person Ramsey tax rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-342, November.
    13. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2014. "A Variational Approach to the Analysis of Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 20780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Gerritsen, Aart, 2016. "Optimal taxation when people do not maximize well-being," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 122-139.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; dual approach; preference heterogeneity; individual misoptimization; tax reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

    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:mpi:wpaper:tax-mpg-rps-2016-02. 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: (Hans Mueller). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mptaxde.html .

    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.