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Dynamic Income Taxation without Commitment: Comparing Alternative Tax Systems

  • J-T Guo
  • A Krause

This paper addresses the question as to whether it is optimal to use separating or pooling nonlinear income taxation, or to use linear income taxation, when the government cannot commit to its future tax policy. We consider both two-period and infinite-horizon settings. Under empirically plausible parameter values, separating income taxation is optimal in the two-period model, whereas linear income taxation is optimal when the time horizon is infinite. The welfare effects of varying the discount rate, the degree of wage inequality, and the population of high-skill workers are also explored. For realistic changes in these parameters, separating income taxation remains optimal in the two-period formulation, and linear income taxation remains optimal in the infinite-horizon model.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 10/15.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:10/15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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  1. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tayvinski & Matthew Weinzierl, 2010. "Preference Heterogeneity and Optimal Capital Income Taxation," STICERD - Public Economics Programme Discussion Papers 04, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Hanming Fang, 2006. "Disentangling The College Wage Premium: Estimating A Model With Endogenous Education Choices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1151-1185, November.
  5. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2011. "Are Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities Consistent? A Review of Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 471-75, May.
  6. Peter Diamond & Johannes Spinnewijn, 2009. "Capital Income Taxes With Heterogeneous Discount Rates," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-14, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2009.
  7. Jang-Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2014. "Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxation with Quasi-Hyperbolic Discounting and No Commitment," Working Papers 201415, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
  8. Marcus Berliant & John O. Ledyard, 2014. "Optimal Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxes with No Commitment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(2), pages 196-221, 04.
  9. Krause, Alan, 2009. "Optimal nonlinear income taxation with learning-by-doing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1098-1110, October.
  10. Craig Brett & John Weymark, 2008. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings without Commitment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0805, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  11. Adriano Rampini & Alberto Bisin, 2005. "Markets as Beneficial Constraints on the Government," 2005 Meeting Papers 325, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Thomas Gaube, 2007. "Optimum Taxation of Each Year's Income," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(1), pages 127-150, 02.
  13. Guo, Jang-Ting & Krause, Alan, 2014. "Optimal Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxation Under Loose Commitment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(06), pages 1403-1427, September.
  14. Jang-Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2010. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Education Expenditures," Working Papers 201008, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2010.
  15. Jangā€Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2011. "Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxation with Habit Formation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(3), pages 463-480, 06.
  16. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  17. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Taxation: Merging Micro and Macro Approaches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 147-174, 08.
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