A Note on Taxation as Social Insurance for Uncertain Labor Income
Various authors, notably Eaton and Rosen (1980a) and Varian (1980), have proposed that income taxation may be justified to some extent on the ground that it serves as social insurance against uncertainties in labor income. They assume that private insurance is unavailable. primarily because of moral hazard, and demonstrate that some taxation is efficient because the benefits of mitigating risk exceed incentive costs. This note suggests that private insurance should be considered explicitly in examining this question. Moral hazard problems limiting private insurance coverage are not alleviated by government insurance. Moreover, in the presence of moral hazard, government insurance, through labor income taxation or otherwise, may be an inefficient policy because private insurance decisions are distorted. More traditional justifications for redistributive taxation are unaffected by this argument.
|Date of creation:||May 1991|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Public Finance, vol. 49, pp. 111-123, (1994).|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- P. A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1977.
"A Model of Social Insurance With Variable Retirement,"
210, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
- Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
- Louis Kaplow, 1989.
"Incentives and Government Relief for Risk,"
NBER Working Papers
3007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roger H. Gordon, 1985. "Taxation of Corporate Capital Income: Tax Revenues Versus Tax Distortions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-27.
- Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1984.
"The Taxation of Risky Assets,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 20-39, February.
- B. Dahlby, 1981. "Adverse selection and Pareto improvements through compulsory insurance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 547-558, January.
- Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
- Kanbur, S. M., 1981.
"Risk taking and taxation : An alternative perspective,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 163-184, April.
- Kanbur, S.M, 1978. "Risk Taking and Taxation : An Alternative Perspective," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 136, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Steven Shavell, 1979. "On Moral Hazard and Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 541-562.
- P. Diamond & J. Helms & J. Mirrlees, 1978.
"Optimal Taxation in a Stochastic Economy: A Cobb-Douglas Example,"
217, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Diamond, P. A. & Helms, L. J. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1980. "Optimal taxation in a stochastic economy : A Cobb-Douglas example," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-29, August.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
- Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3708. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.