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Commodity taxation and social welfare: the generalised Ramsey rule

By David Coady and Jean Dreze


Commodity taxes have three distinct roles: (1) revenue collection, (2) interpersonal redistribution, and (3) resource allocation. The paper presents an integrated treatment of these three concerns in a second-best general equilibrium framework, which leads to the 'generalised Ramsey rule' for optimum taxation. We show how many standard results on optimum taxation and tax reform have a straightforward counterpart in this general framework. Using this framework, we also try to clarify the notion of 'deadweight loss' as well as the relation between alternative distributional assumptions and the structure of optimum taxes

Topics: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology, HJ Public Finance
Publisher: Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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