Indirect Taxes for Redistribution: Should Necessity Goods Be Favored?

28 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2011

See all articles by Robin Boadway

Robin Boadway

Queen's University; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPEE)

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liege - Research Center on Public and Population Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Date Written: December 12, 2011

Abstract

Atkinson and Stiglitz show that with weakly separability, differential commodity taxes are unnecessary given an optimal nonlinear income tax. Deaton showed that with an optimal linear progressive income tax, commodity taxes are superfluous under weakly separable and linear Engel curves. Using the latter case as an example, we derive two main results. If the income tax is less progressive than optimal, necessities should bear a lower tax rate than luxuries. If low-income households are income-constrained so cannot afford luxuries, it may be optimal to tax necessities at higher rates than luxuries, depending whether labor varies along the intensive or extensive margin.

Keywords: optimal income tax, Atkinson-Stiglitz Theorem, indirect taxes

JEL Classification: H210, H230

Suggested Citation

Boadway, Robin and Pestieau, Pierre, Indirect Taxes for Redistribution: Should Necessity Goods Be Favored? (December 12, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3667. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1971162

Robin Boadway (Contact Author)

Queen's University ( email )

99 University Avenue
Kingston K7L 3N6, Ontario
Canada
613-533-2266 (Phone)
613-533-6668 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/pub/faculty/boadway/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPEE)

Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liege - Research Center on Public and Population Economics ( email )

Boulevard du Rectorat, 7, Batiment 31
Sart-Tilman
B-4000 Liege, 4000
Belgium
+32 4 366 3108 (Phone)
+32 4 366 3106 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Vopie Roman Pays
Louvain la Neuve
Belgium

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