Poverty Alleviation and Tax Policy
European Economic Review 48, 1075-1090,10/2004; DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2004.01.003
Posted: 6 Sep 2014
Date Written: October 1, 2004
This paper examines public good provision and tax policy — optimal non-linear income taxation and linear commodity taxation — when the government departs from purely welfarist objective function and seeks to minimise poverty. This assumption reflects much policy discussion and may help understand some divergences of practical tax policy from lessons in optimal tax analysis. In contrast to Atkinson and Stiglitz (J. Public Econom. 6 (1976) 55), it may be optimal to use differentiated commodity tax rates, including the taxation of savings, even if preferences are separable in goods and leisure. The optimal effective marginal tax rate at the bottom of the distribution may be negative, suggesting that wage subsidy schemes can be optimal. Finally, optimal provision of a public good is analysed under poverty minimisation.
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