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An Optimal Tax System

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

A notable feature and principal virtue of Tax by Design is its system-wide perspective on different elements of the tax system. This review essay builds on this trait and offers a more explicit foundation for the report's general approach, drawing on a distribution-neutral methodology that is developed in other work. This technique is then employed to illuminate and extend Tax by Design's analysis regarding the VAT, environmental taxation, wealth transfer taxation, and income transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Kaplow, 2011. "An Optimal Tax System," NBER Working Papers 17214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17214
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
    2. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    3. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Taxing Leisure Complements," NBER Working Papers 14397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Louis Kaplow, 2007. "Optimal income transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(3), pages 295-325, June.
    5. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1984. "Quasi-Pareto Social Improvements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1033-1050, December.
    6. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2002. "On the Superiority of Corrective Taxes to Quantity Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, January.
    7. West, Sarah E. & Williams III, Roberton C., 2007. "Optimal taxation and cross-price effects on labor supply: Estimates of the optimal gas tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 593-617, April.
    8. Kaplow Louis, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, September.
    9. Aled ab Iorwerth & John Whalley, 2002. "Efficiency considerations and the exemption of food from sales and value added taxes," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 166-182, February.
    10. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
    11. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    12. Laroque, Guy R., 2005. "Indirect taxation is superfluous under separability and taste homogeneity: a simple proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 141-144, April.
    13. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
    14. 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.
    15. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. " Distributional Objectives Should Affect Taxes but not Program Choice or Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 264-284.
    16. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2010. "Economics of estate taxation: a brief review of theory and evidence," NBER Working Papers 15741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevance of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion to Government Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 159-175, Fall.
    18. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-178, Winter.
    19. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    20. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Evaluating In-Work Benefit Reform: The Working Families Tax Credit in the U.K," JCPR Working Papers 160, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    21. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
    23. Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Taxing Leisure Complements," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1065-1071, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haradhan Kumar Mohajan, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Taxes Due to Health Effect," KASBIT Business Journals (KBJ), Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 4, pages 1-19, December.
    2. Schock, Matthias Malte, 2019. "Steuerreformvorschläge des Mirrlees Committee und der Stiftung Marktwirtschaft [Tax Reform Proposals of the Mirrlees Committee and the Stiftung Marktwirtschaft]," MPRA Paper 96689, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Rajiv Prabhakar, 2016. "How did the Welsh government manage to reform council tax in 2005?," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 417-424, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • 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
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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