IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/1028.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On Choosing a Flat-Rate Income Tax Schedule

Author

Listed:
  • Joel Slemrod
  • Shlomo Yitzhaki

Abstract

This paper applies a numerical optimization technique using microunit tax data to the problem of choosing the parameters of a flat-rate tax system, should one be desired. Our approach is to first formulate explicit objectives that a flat-rate tax might reasonably be designed to meet, such as minimizing the extent of changes in households' tax burdens and minimizing the efficiency cost of the tax system. The next step uses an optimization algorithm to calculate the flat-rate schedule which comes closest to meeting the objectives,subject to the constraint that it raise the same revenue as the current incometax system. The calculations are carried out using a sample of 947 tax returns randomly drawn from the Treasury Tax File for 1977 which are updated to repro-duce the pattern of tax returns that would be filed in 1982.The analysis shows that the flat-rate system which minimizes the sum of the absolute deviations in tax liabilities features a marginal tax rate between 0.204 and 0.254, though a different definition of tax burden changes which puts more emphasis on reproducing the tax burdens of high-income households has an optimal marginal tax rate of 0.382. We also derive the optimal flat-rate schedules when another objective is to minimize the efficiency cost of the tax system.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1982. "On Choosing a Flat-Rate Income Tax Schedule," NBER Working Papers 1028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1028
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1028.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-544, September.
    2. Feldstein, Martin, 1976. "On the theory of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 77-104.
    3. Eytan Sheshinski, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302.
    4. Edmund S. Phelps, 1973. "Taxation of Wage Income for Economic Justice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 331-354.
    5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "A tax programming model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 107-120, October.
    6. George J. Borjas & James J. Heckman, 1978. "Labor Supply Estimates For Public Policy Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 0299, 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. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042 Elsevier.
    2. Doye, Damona G. & Boehlje, Michael, 1985. "A Flat Rate Tax: Impacts On Representative Hog And Grain Farms," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 10(02), December.

    More about this item

    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:nbr:nberwo:1028. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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.