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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. Bovenberg, A. Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1996. "Optimal taxation, public goods and environmental policy with involuntary unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 59-83, October.
  2. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1998. "Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment," Munich Reprints in Economics 19493, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2000. "Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," CESifo Working Paper Series 279, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Koskela Erkki & Schöb Ronnie, 2002. "Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, January.
  10. 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.
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  12. 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.
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  15. Bruce, N., 1991. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," Working Papers 91-10a, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. Lawrence Summers & Jonathan Gruber & Rodrigo Vergara, 1993. "Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 385-411.
  18. 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.
  19. Michael Keen & Hannu Piekkola, 1996. "Simple rules for the optimal taxation of international capital income," IFS Working Papers W96/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 1999. "Tax Coordination and Unemployment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20298, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  23. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  24. 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.
  25. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
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