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Optimal taxation and the skill premium

Konstantinos Angelopoulos (), Jim Malley and Apostolis Philippopoulos

Working Papers from Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow

Abstract: The stylized facts suggest a negative relationship between tax progres- sivity and the skill premium from the early 1960s until the early 1990s, and a positive one thereafter. They also generally imply rising tax progressivity, except for the 1980s. In this paper, we ask whether optimal tax policy is consistent with these observations, taking into account the demographic and technological factors that have also affected the skill premium. To this end, we construct a dynamic general equilibrium model in which the skill premium and the progressivity of the tax system are endogenously determined, with the latter being optimally chosen by a benevolent government. We find that optimal policy delivers both a progressive tax system and model predictions which are generally consistent, except for the 1980s, with the stylized facts relating to the skill premium and progressivity. To capture the patterns in the data over the 1980s requires that we adopt a government policy which is biased towards the interests of skilled agents. Thus, in addition to demo- graphic and technological factors, changes in the preferences of policy-makers appear to be a potentially important factor in determining the evolution of the observed skill premium.

Keywords: skill premium; optimal tax policy; government preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E62 E65 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge and nep-pub
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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Working Paper: Optimal Taxation and the Skill Premium (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Optimal taxation and the skill premium (2012) Downloads
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