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On the optimality of Ramsey taxes in Mirrlees economies


  • Borys Grochulski

    (Richmond Fed)


In this paper, we show that a simple, linear capital tax---the kind used in the Ramsey analysis---can be optimal in a Mirrlees economy with private information. We extend the Mirrlees approach to optimal taxation by studying taxes side-by-side with another institution, rather than in isolation. We consider an implementation in which agents use unsecured credit and personal bankruptcy to obtain insurance. Taxes are levied to fund government expenditures. An optimal tax system consists of lump-sum taxes and a simple Ramsey tax on wealth. In Mirrlees private information environments, optimal capital taxes do not have to be complicated.

Suggested Citation

  • Borys Grochulski, 2011. "On the optimality of Ramsey taxes in Mirrlees economies," 2011 Meeting Papers 883, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:883

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1587-1621, September.
    2. Grochulski, Borys & Kocherlakota, Narayana, 2010. "Nonseparable preferences and optimal social security systems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2055-2077, November.
    3. Carlos E. da Costa & Iván Werning, 2008. "On the Optimality of the Friedman Rule with Heterogeneous Agents and Nonlinear Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 82-112, February.
    4. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2006. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30.
    5. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
    6. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Borys Grochulski, 2010. "Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Design under Moral Hazard," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 350-378, April.
    9. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
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