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The Optimal Tax Mix Reconsidered

John T Revesz

Public Finance = Finances publiques, 1999, vol. 54, issue 1-2, 1-20

Abstract: This paper highlights a number of limitations of the Atkinson-Stiglitz thesis on the optimality of uniform commodity taxation in the presence of the optimal income tax. Using a simpler form of Christiansen's (1984) version of the Atkinson-Stiglitz (1976) thesis, we examine the effect on the optimal tax mix of administrative costs, tax evasion and imperfectly observable taxpayer characteristics other than wages. We also question whether weakly separable utility, a central assumption behind the Atkinson-Stiglitz theorem, provides a suitable benchmark to define the leisure neutrality of goods. Attention is given to the implications of an alternative separability assumption.

Date: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:pfi:pubfin:v:54:y:1999:i:1-2:p:1-20