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Moral Hazard, Income Taxation, and Prospect Theory

Author

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  • Ravi Kanbur
  • Jukka Pirttilä
  • Matti Tuomala

    (School of Management, University of Tampere)

Abstract

The standard theory of optimal income taxation under uncertainty has been developed under the assumption that individuals maximize expected utility. However, prospect theory has now been established as an alternative model of individual behaviour, with empirical support. This paper explores the theory of optimal income taxation under uncertainty when individuals behave according to the tenets of prospect theory. It is seen that many of the standard results are either overturned, or modified in interesting ways. The validity of the First Order Approach requires new conditions that are developed in the paper. And when these conditions are valid, it is shown that optimal marginal tax rates on low incomes will tend to be lower under prospect theory than under expected utility theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2004. "Moral Hazard, Income Taxation, and Prospect Theory," Working Papers 0430, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tam:wpaper:0430
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    File URL: http://urn.fi/urn:isbn:951-44-5941-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Amedeo Piolatto & Gwenola Trotin, 2011. "Optimal tax enforcement under prospect theory," Working Papers 2011/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Keisuke Morita, 2015. "Advance Tax Payments And Tax Evasion: A Note," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 60(05), pages 1-10, December.
    3. Xianhua Dai, 2011. "Optimal Taxation under Income Uncertainty," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 121-138, May.
    4. Mehrmann, Annika & Sureth-Sloane, Caren, 2017. "Tax loss offset restrictions and biased perception of risky investments," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 222, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    5. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2006. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioural Public Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 849-868, December.
    6. Hsu, Minchung & Yang, C.C., 2013. "Optimal linear and two-bracket income taxes with idiosyncratic earnings risk," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 58-71.
    7. Heutel, Garth, 2019. "Prospect theory and energy efficiency," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 236-254.
    8. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2011. "Optimal Income Taxation with Uncertain Earnings: A Synthesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3654, CESifo.
    9. Rablen, Matthew D., 2010. "Performance targets, effort and risk-taking," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 687-697, August.
    10. Alex Rees-Jones & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2018. "Taxing Humans: Pitfalls of the Mechanism Design Approach and Potential Resolutions," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 107-133.
    11. Amit Kothiyal & Vitalie Spinu & Peter Wakker, 2011. "Prospect theory for continuous distributions: A preference foundation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 195-210, June.
    12. Gwenola Trotin & Amedeo Piolatto, 2011. "Optimal tax enforcement under prospect theory," Working Papers. Serie AD 2011-24, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    13. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2010. "Poverty and the Optimal General Income Tax-cum-Audit Policy," Working Papers 02-2010, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
    14. Hopp, Daniel & Becker, Johannes & Kriebel, Michael, 2018. "Mental Accounting of Public Funds - The Flypaper Effect in the Lab," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181629, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    redistributive taxation; income uncertainty; moral hazard; prospect theory; loss aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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