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Is There a Demand for Income Tax Progressivity?

  • Jean Hindriks

    (Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London)

Recently Marhuenda and Ortuno-Ortin (1995) have provided a popular support for progressivity theorem that says that a marginal progressive tax always defeats a marginal regressive tax as long as individuals vote for the tax scheme minimizing their tax liabilities and the median income is less than the mean income. In this paper we provide, under similar circumstances, a popular support for regressivity theorem according to which more marginal regressivity (or less marginal progressivity) can always defeat any existing tax scheme. This move towards more regressivity (or less progressivity) is supported by the extremes of the income distribution. Combining this result with Marhuenda and Ortuno-Ortin's result implies that vote cycling is inevitable and that the demand for progressivity cannot be established in the standard Downsian framework with self-interested voters.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 415.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp415
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  1. Mitra, Tapan & Ok, Efe A. & Kockesen, Levent, 1998. "Popular support for progressive taxation and the relative income hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 69-76, January.
  2. John E. Roemer, 1997. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Discussion Papers 97-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. De Donner, P. & Hindriks, J., 2000. "The Politics of Progressive Income Taxation with Incentive Effects," Papers 00-542, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  4. DE DONDER, Philippe & HINDRIKS, Jean, . "The politics of progressive income taxation with incentive effects," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1673, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Myles, Gareth D., 2000. "On the optimal marginal rate of income tax," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 113-119, January.
  6. Snyder, James M. & Kramer, Gerald H., 1988. "Fairness, self-interest, and the politics of the progressive income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 197-230, July.
  7. De Donder, Philippe & Le Breton, Michel & Truchon, Michel, 2000. "Choosing from a weighted tournament1," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 85-109, July.
  8. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1995. "Popular support for progressive taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 319-324, June.
  9. Francisco Marhuenda & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 1995. "Popular Support For Progressive Taxation," Working Papers. Serie AD 1995-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. De Donder, Philippe & Le Breton, Michel & Truchon, Michel, 1998. "Choosing from a Weighted Tournament," Cahiers de recherche 9815, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  11. Young, H Peyton, 1990. "Progressive Taxation and Equal Sacrifice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 253-66, March.
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