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Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment

  • Koskela, Erkki
  • Schöb, Ronnie

According to conventional wisdom internationally mobile capital should not be taxed or should be taxed at a lower rate than labour. An important underlying assumption behind this view is that there are no market imperfections, in particular that labour markets clear competitively. At least for Europe, which has been suffering from high unemployment for a long time, this assumption does not seem appropriate. This paper studies the optimal factor taxation in the presence of unemployment which results from the union-firm wage bargaining both with optimal and restricted profit taxation when capital is internationally mobile and labour immobile. In setting tax rates the government is assumed to behave as a Stackelberg leader towards the private sector playing a Nash game. The main conclusion is that in the presence of unemployment, the conventional wisdom turns on its head; capital should generally be taxed at a higher rate than labour. Copyright 2002 by Blackwell Publishing Inc.

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Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series Discussion Papers with number 758.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:758
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  1. Huizinga, H. & Nielsen, S.B., 1995. "Capital Income and Profits Taxation with Foreign Ownership of Firms," Papers 9582, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  3. Mintz, Jack & Tulkens, Henry, 1996. "Optimality properties of alternative systems of taxation of foreign capital income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 373-399, June.
  4. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, . "Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment," EPRU Working Paper Series 98-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1978. "Taxing price makers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 423-455, December.
  6. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie, 2001. "Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," Discussion Papers 758, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  7. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  8. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998. "Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 379-396, July.
  9. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
  10. Bovenberg, A.L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1993. "Optimal taxation, public goods and environmental policy with involuntary unemployment," Discussion Paper 1993-77, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Summers, Lawrence H & Gruber, Jonathan & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1993. "Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 385-411, May.
  12. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73563 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Stefan Boeters & Kerstin Schneider, 1999. "Government versus Union. The Structure of Optimal Taxation in a Unionized Labor Market," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(2), pages 174-, June.
  14. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, . "Tax Coordination and Unemployment," EPRU Working Paper Series 97-26, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  15. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
  16. Bruce, N., 1991. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," Working Papers 91-10a, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  17. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
  18. Stefan Homburg, 1999. "Competition and Co-ordination in International Capital Income Taxation," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 1-17, March.
  19. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  20. Wolfram Richter & Kerstin Schneider, 2001. "Taxing Mobile Capital with Labor Market Imperfections," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 245-262, May.
  21. Michael Keen & Hannu Piekkola, 1996. "Simple rules for the optimal taxation of international capital income," IFS Working Papers W96/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  22. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  23. G. D. A. MacDougall, 1960. "THE BENEFITS and COSTS OF PRIVATE INVESTMENT FROM ABROAD: A THEORETICAL APPROACH," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 36(73), pages 13-35, 03.
  24. Eggert, Wolfgang & Haufler, Andreas, 1999. "Capital taxation and production efficiency in an open economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20564, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  25. Holm, Pasi & Honkapohja, Seppo & Koskela, Erkki, 1994. "A monopoly-union model of wage determination with capital and taxes: An empirical application to the Finnish manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 285-303, February.
  26. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73857 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
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