The Optimal Two-Bracket Linear Income Tax
We investigate the optimal rate structure of an income tax system that is constrained to have only two brackets, plus a demogrant. We find that, in a two-class economy, Pareto efficient tax schedules feature at least one marginal tax rate equal to zero, and that the marginal tax rate may be increasing or declining. We next use numerical optimization techniques to study the optimal structure of such a tax system in a multi-person model that is a stylized version of an actual economy. We discover that in all cases the tax rate in the second (higher) bracket is less than the tax rate that applies to the first bracket but that progressivity, in the sense of a uniformly rising average tax rate, generally obtains. Compared to the optimal one-bracket (linear) tax system, both the highest and lowest income individuals are better off, while a middle range of taxpayers is worse off.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1991|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 53, no. 2 (February 1994): 269-290.|
|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
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.:
- 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
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
- Eytan Sheshinski, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
- J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Sheshinski, Eytan, 1989. "Note on the shape of the optimum income tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 201-215, November.
- 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.
- Stern, N. H., 1976. "On the specification of models of optimum income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 123-162.
- Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "A tax programming model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 107-120, October.
- Efraim Sadka, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 261-267. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3847. 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.