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Rising markups and optimal redistributive taxation

Eren Gürer ()
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Eren Gürer: Goethe University

International Tax and Public Finance, 2022, vol. 29, issue 5, No 6, 1227-1259

Abstract: Abstract This study explores the implications of rising markups for optimal Mirrleesian income and profit taxation. Using a stylized model with two individuals, the main forces shaping welfare-optimal policies are analytically characterized. Although a higher profit tax has redistributive benefits, it adversely affects market competition, leading to a greater equilibrium cost-of-living. Rising markups directly contribute to a decline in optimal marginal taxes on labor income. The optimal policy response to higher markups includes increasingly relying on the profit tax to fund redistribution. Declining optimal marginal income taxes assists the redistributive function of the profit tax by contributing to the expansion of the profit tax base. This response alone considerably increases the equilibrium cost-of-living. Nevertheless, a majority of the individuals become better off with the optimal policy. If it is not possible to tax profits optimally, due, for example, to profit shifting, increasing redistribution via income taxes is not optimal; every individual is worse off relative to the scenario with optimal profit taxation.

Keywords: Markups; Optimal redistribution; Imperfect competition; Taxation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D43 H21 H25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10797-021-09712-y

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