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Do Hidden Taxes Increase Welfare?


Brian D. Galle


Boston College Law School


FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 334
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1113585
FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 08-15

Abstract:     
This draft offers a critical review of the economic literature on the efficiency of low-salience taxes. In particular, I explore the possibility that hidden taxes may in fact be more efficient than others. Since the entire field comprises only a handful of papers, the review is devoted mostly to identifying gaps in our present understanding. For example, the literature so far omits any consideration of the impact of hidden taxes on fiscal federalism, and gives only glancing attention to possible distributive consequences, both topics I attempt to highlight here. Additionally, I attempt to integrate with the tax literature some recent developments in our understanding of bounded rationality in consumers more generally.

[Note: This is a working paper version of "Hidden Taxes."]

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: optimal taxation, mirrlees, hidden tax, tax salience, bounded rationality, behavioral law and economics, debiasing, Tiebout

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Date posted: March 29, 2008 ; Last revised: September 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Galle, Brian D., Do Hidden Taxes Increase Welfare?. FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 334; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1113585; FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 08-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1113585 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1113585

Contact Information

Brian D. Galle (Contact Author)
Boston College Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
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