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Optimal Income Transfers

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

A substantial literature addresses the design of transfer programs and policies, including the negative income tax, other means-tested transfers, the earned income tax credit, categorical assistance, and work inducements. This work is largely independent of that on the optimal nonlinear income tax, yet formulations of such a tax necessarily address how low-income individuals should be treated. This paper draws on the optimal income taxation literature to illuminate the analysis of transfer programs, including the level and shape of marginal tax rates (including phase-outs), the structure of categorical assistance, and the role of work inducements in an optimal income transfer scheme.

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  • Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Optimal Income Transfers," NBER Working Papers 12284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12284
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    Cited by:

    1. Barrientos, Armando, 2012. "Social Transfers and Growth: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Find Out?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 11-20.
    2. Florian Buhlmann & Benjamin Elsner & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "Tax refunds and income manipulation: evidence from the EITC," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(6), pages 1490-1518, December.
    3. Normann Lorenz & Dominik Sachs, 2012. "Optimal Participation Taxes and Efficient Transfer Phase-Out," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-37, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    4. Louis Kaplow, 2011. "An Optimal Tax System," NBER Working Papers 17214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ashley C. Craig, 2023. "Optimal Income Taxation with Spillovers from Employer Learning," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 82-125, May.
    6. Guyonne Kalb & Thor Thoresen, 2010. "A comparison of family policy designs of Australia and Norway using microsimulation models," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 255-287, June.
    7. Matti Tuomala, 2010. "On optimal non-linear income taxation: numerical results revisited," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(3), pages 259-270, June.
    8. Robert Moffitt, 2006. "Welfare work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 441-458, November.
    9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl, 2010. "The Optimal Taxation of Height: A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 155-176, February.
    10. Gregory Acs & Eric Toder, 2007. "Should we subsidize work? Welfare reform, the earned income tax credit and optimal transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(3), pages 327-343, June.
    11. Ray Rees & Thor O. Thoresen & Trine E. Vattø, 2023. "Alternatives to Paying Child Benefit to the Rich: Means‐Testing or Higher Tax?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 56(3), pages 328-354, September.
    12. Simeon Schächtele, 2020. "Tax Responses at Low Taxable Incomes: Evidence from Germany," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(2), pages 411-439, June.
    13. Sterner, Cornelia, 2010. "Ein bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen in Form der negativen Einkommensteuer: Eine soziologische und finanzwissenschaftliche Analyse [An unconditional basic income in the form of the negative income ta," MPRA Paper 39703, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2012.

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    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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