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Dynamic Optimal Income Taxation with Government Commitment

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  • Dagobert L. Brito
  • Jonathan H. Hamilton
  • Steven M. Slutsky
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

The optimal income taxation problem has been extensively studied in one-period models. This paper analyzes optimal income taxation when consumers work for many periods. We also analyze what information, if any, that the government learns about abilities in one period can be used in later periods to attain more redistribution than in a one-period world. When the government must commit itself to future tax schedules, intertemporal nonstationarity of tax schedules could relax the self-selection constraints and lead to Pareto improvements. The effect of nonstationarity is analogous to that of randomization in one-period models. The use of information is limited since only a single lifetime self-selection constraint for each type of consumer exists. These results hold when individuals and the government have the same discount rates. The planner can make additional use of the information when individual and social rates of time discounting differ. In this case, the limiting tax schedule is a nondistorting one if the government has a lower discount rate than individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Dagobert L. Brito & Jonathan H. Hamilton & Steven M. Slutsky & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1990. "Dynamic Optimal Income Taxation with Government Commitment," NBER Working Papers 3265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3265
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    1. Richard Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 344-362, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julie Ing, 2016. "Adverse selection, commitment and exhaustible resource taxation," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/263, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    2. Salvador Ball & Amadéo Spadaro, 2006. "Optimal nonlinear labor income taxation in dynamic economies," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590555, HAL.
    3. Guo, Jang-Ting & Krause, Alan, 2015. "Dynamic nonlinear income taxation with quasi-hyperbolic discounting and no commitment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 101-119.
    4. Marcus Berliant & John O. Ledyard, 2014. "Optimal Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxes with No Commitment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(2), pages 196-221, April.
    5. Berliant, Marcus & Fujishima, Shota, 2012. "Optimal dynamic nonlinear income taxes: facing an uncertain future with a sluggish government," MPRA Paper 41947, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2008. "Pareto efficient income taxation with stochastic abilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 844-868, April.
    7. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
    8. Robin Boadway, 1998. "The Mirrlees Approach to the Theory of Economic Policy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(1), pages 67-81, February.
    9. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2259-2281, September.
    10. Dillen, Mats & Lundholm, Michael, 1996. "Dynamic income taxation, redistribution, and the ratchet effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 69-93, January.
    11. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2002. "New perspectives on public finance: recent achievements and future challenges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 341-360, December.
    12. Robin Boadway & Nicolas Marceau, 1994. "Time inconsistency as a rationale for public unemployment insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 1(2), pages 107-126, October.
    13. Blumkin, Tomer & Sadka, Efraim, 2005. "Income taxation with intergenerational mobility: Can higher inequality lead to less progression?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1915-1925, October.
    14. Lans Bovenberg & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2009. "Optimal Social Insurance with Linear Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(2), pages 251-275, June.
    15. Juan Carlos Chavez-Martin del Campo, 2008. "On the design of an optimal transfer schedule with time inconsistent preferences," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(5), pages 1-7.
    16. Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2006. "Disability insurance and optimal income taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(6), pages 717-732, November.

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