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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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  2. Keen, Michael & Piekkola, Hannu, 1997. " Simple Rules for the Optimal Taxation of International Capital Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(3), pages 447-61, September.
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  8. 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.
  9. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  10. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1999. "Tax Coordination and Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 7-26, February.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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  14. Wolfram F. Richter & Kerstin Schneider, 2001. "Taxing Mobile Capital with Labor Market Imperfections," CESifo Working Paper Series 477, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Bovenberg, A.L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1996. "Optimal taxation, public goods and environmental policy with involuntary unemployment," Other publications TiSEM 2a1a87d9-2ed9-41a7-b3aa-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  20. Bruce, Neil, 1992. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(202), pages 217-21, September.
  21. 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.
  22. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2000. "Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," CESifo Working Paper Series 279, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
  24. 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.
  25. 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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