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Revenue-Maximising Elasticities of Taxable Income in Multi-Rate Income Tax Structures

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Abstract

This paper provides a technical introduction to the use of the elasticity of taxable income in welfare comparisons and optimal tax discussions. It draws together, using a consistent framework and notation, a number of established results concerning marginal welfare changes and optimal taxes. Particular attention is given to the way value judgements can be specified when using this approach, and results are illustrated using the New Zealand income tax. In addition, some new results, particularly in terms of non-marginal tax changes, are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy, 2013. "Revenue-Maximising Elasticities of Taxable Income in Multi-Rate Income Tax Structures," Treasury Working Paper Series 13/24, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:13/24
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    File URL: https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2013-11/twp13-24.pdf
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    1. Creedy, John, 1998. "The Optimal Linear Income Tax Model: Utility or Equivalent Income?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 99-110, February.
    2. Fullerton, Don, 1982. "On the possibility of an inverse relationship between tax rates and government revenues," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-22, October.
    3. Seth H. Giertz, 2010. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income during the 1990s: New Estimates and Sensitivity Analyses," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 406-433, October.
    4. Martin Feldstein, 2012. "The Mirrlees Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 781-790, September.
    5. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "How Far Are We From The Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-023, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    6. Austan Goolsbee, 1999. "Evidence on the High-Income Laffer Curve from Six Decades of Tax Reform," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 1-64.
    7. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Iris Claus & John Creedy & Josh Teng, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 287-303, September.
    9. Koen Caminada & Kees Goudswaard, 1996. "Progression and revenue effects of income tax reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(1), pages 57-66, January.
    10. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    11. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2001. "What Makes the Personal Income Tax Progressive? A Comparative Analysis for Fifteen OECD Countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(3), pages 299-316, May.
    12. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    13. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2002. " The Built-In Flexibility of Income and Consumption Taxes," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 509-532, September.
    14. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    15. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2011. "The Laffer curve revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 305-327.
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    1. repec:esr:resser:rs59 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2015. "Revenue-maximising tax rates and elasticities of taxable income inNew Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(2), pages 189-206, August.
    3. Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2016. "The Laffer curve in schedular multi-rate income taxes with non-genuine allowances: An application to Spain," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 42-56.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income taxation; Taxable income; Elasticity of taxable income; Excess burden of taxation; Marginal welfare cost; Optimum tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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