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Nonlinear Tax Incidence and Optimal Taxation in General Equilibrium

Dominik Sachs, Aleh Tsyvinski and Nicolas Werquin
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Dominik Sachs: University of Applied Sciences [Munich]
Aleh Tsyvinski: Yale University [New Haven]
Nicolas Werquin: TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement

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Abstract: We study the incidence of nonlinear labor income taxes in an economy with a continuum of endogenous wages. We derive in closed form the effects of reforming nonlinearly an arbitrary tax system, by showing that this problem can be formalized as an integral equation. Our tax incidence formulas are valid both when the underlying assignment of skills to tasks is fixed or endogenous. We show qualitatively and quantitatively that contrary to conventional wisdom, if the tax system is initially suboptimal and progressive, the general-equilibrium trickle-down forces may raise the benefits of increasing the marginal tax rates on high incomes. We finally derive a parsimonious characterization of optimal taxes.

Keywords: Optimal income taxation; Nonlinear taxes; Tax incidence; Trickle-down effects; General equilibrium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pbe
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Published in Econometrica, 2020, 88 (2), pp.469-493. ⟨10.3982/ECTA14681⟩

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02952736

DOI: 10.3982/ECTA14681

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