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Menus of Linear Income Tax Schedules


  • Alberto Alesina
  • Philippe Weil


Relative to traditional piecewise linear income taxation schemes, it is possible to increase government revenues by offering to consumers a menu of linear income tax schedules. In the resulting Pareto-superior equilibrium, consumers sort themselves out according to their (unobservable) productivity level, with high productivity agents choosing the tax schedules with low marginal tax rate and high intercept. This scheme extracts from the economy an unexploited source of revenue which, in contrast with standard supply-side proposals, does not depend on the economy being on the downward-sloping side of the Laffer curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Philippe Weil, 1992. "Menus of Linear Income Tax Schedules," NBER Working Papers 3968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3968
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
    2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    3. Eytan Sheshinski, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302.
    4. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Mayshar, Joram & Lundholm, Michael, 1994. "The optimal two-bracket linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 269-290, February.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. McDonald, James B & Ransom, Michael R, 1979. "Functional Forms, Estimation Techniques and the Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1513-1525, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Del Negro, Marco & Perri, Fabrizio & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2010. "Tax buyouts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 576-595, July.
      • Marco Del Negro & Fabrizio Perri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2010. "Tax Buyouts," EIEF Working Papers Series 1007, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2010.
      • Marco Del Negro & Fabrizio Perri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2010. "Tax buyouts," Staff Report 441, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
      • Marco Del Negro & Fabrizio Perri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2010. "Tax buyouts," NBER Working Papers 15847, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Marco Del Negro & Fabrizio Perri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2010. "Tax buyouts," Staff Reports 467, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Laszlo Goerke, 2015. "Income tax buyouts and income tax evasion," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(1), pages 120-143, February.
    3. Philippe De Donder & Jean Hindriks, 1998. "The political economy of targeting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 177-200, April.
    4. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2008. "Schedule Selection by Agents: from Price Plans to Tax Tables," NBER Working Papers 13808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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