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Costs of taxation and the benefits of public goods : the role of income effects

  • Martin, Will
  • Anderson, James E.

The fact that raising taxes can increase taxed labor supply through income effects is frequently used to justify much lower measures of the marginal welfare cost of taxes and greater public good provision than indicated by traditional, compensated analyses. The authors confirm that this difference remains substantial with newer elasticity estimates, but show that either compensated or uncompensated measures of the marginal cost of funds can be used to evaluate the costs of taxation-and will provide the same result-as long as the income effects of both taxes and public good provision are incorporated in a consistent manner.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3700.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3700
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  1. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  2. repec:oup:restud:v:41:y:1974:i:1:p:119-28 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Triest, Robert K, 1990. "The Relationship between the Marginal Cost of Public Funds and Marginal Excess Burden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 557-66, June.
  4. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, 1.
  5. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-08, March.
  6. Creedy, J., 1997. "Measuring Welfare Changes and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 587, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Browning, Edgar K, 1976. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 283-98, April.
  8. Feldstein, Martin, 1997. "How Big Should Government Be?," Scholarly Articles 3043427, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Wildasin, David E, 1984. "On Public Good Provision with Distortionary Taxation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 227-43, April.
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ballard, Charles L., 1990. "Marginal welfare cost calculations : Differential analysis vs. balanced-budget analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 263-276, March.
  12. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2001. "Integrating Expenditure and Tax Decisions: The Marginal Cost of Funds and the Marginal Benefit of Projects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 189-202, June.
  14. James E. Anderson & Will Martin, 1996. "The Welfare Analysis of Fiscal Policy: A Simple Unified Account," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 316., Boston College Department of Economics.
  15. Ian Parry, 2002. "Tax Deductions and the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(5), pages 531-552, September.
  16. J. Peter Neary, 1989. "Trade liberalization and shadow prices in the presence of tariffs and quotas," Working Papers 198904, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  17. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:1:p:1-21 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1990. "Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 3506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
  21. Auerbach, Alan J., 1985. "The theory of excess burden and optimal taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 61-127 Elsevier.
  22. Gerald Auten & Robert Carroll, 1999. "The Effect Of Income Taxes On Household Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 681-693, November.
  23. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2000. "The Optimal Size of Public Spending and the Distortionary Cost of Taxation," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-19, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  24. Squire, Lyn, 1989. "Project evaluation in theory and practice," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1093-1137 Elsevier.
  25. Dahlby, Bev, 1998. "Progressive taxation and the social marginal cost of public funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 105-122, January.
  26. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1997. "Beyond Rate of Return: Reorienting Project Appraisal," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 35-46, February.
  27. repec:oup:restud:v:38:y:1971:i:114:p:151-74 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Feldstein, Martin, 1997. "How Big Should Government Be?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 197-213, June.
  29. Snow, Arthur & Warren, Ronald Jr., 1996. "The marginal welfare cost of public funds: Theory and estimates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 289-305, August.
  30. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
  31. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
  32. Stuart, Charles E, 1984. "Welfare Costs per Dollar of Additional Tax Revenue in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 352-62, June.
  33. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "How Big Should Government Be?," NBER Working Papers 5868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Mayshar, Joram, 1991. "On Measuring the Marginal Cost of Funds Analytically," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1329-35, December.
  35. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevance of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion to Government Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 159-175, Fall.
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