75 research outputs found

    On the Desirability of Taxing Charitable Contributions

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    We develop a model that allows for public goods and status signaling through charitable contributions. This model provides a unified framework in which contributions are driven both by altruism and status signaling. We use this setup to re-examine the conventional practice of rendering a favorable tax treatment to charitable contributions.optimal taxation, re-distribution, charitable contributions, inequality

    Estate Taxation

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    In this paper we examine the properties of the optimal linearestate tax in the presence of a complete set of tax instrumentsavailable to the social planner. We allow for both types of bequestmotives, namely altruistic and accidental. We examine the casefor estate taxation which seems to be the strongest (but notimpeccable) with accidental bequests. In general, the estate tax ishighly sensitive to the relative importance of the two bequestmotives.

    A Case for Taxing Education

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    We illustrate a novel informational feature of education, which the government may utilize. Discretionary decisions of individuals to acquire education may serve as an additional signal (to earned labor income) on the underlying unobserved innate earning ability, thereby mitigating the informational constraint faced by the government. We establish a case for taxing education, as a supplement to the labor income tax.optimal taxation, re-distribution, education, inequality

    Minimum Wage with Optimal Income Taxation

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    Minimum wage legislation is a standard policy tool in most countries. However, the overall merits of minimum wage are controversial due to its potential adverse effects on unemployment. In this paper we construct a simple model in which minimum wage plays an important re-distributive role, alongside income taxation, without generating adverse effects on unemployment.

    Rising UI Benefits over Time

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    We re-examine a key result in the optimal UI literature that benefits should decline over time. We show that when the population is heterogeneous, Pareto-efficiency may call for multiple payment schedules, some with benefits that fall over time and some with benefits that rise over time.Optimal Taxation, Re-distribution, Unemployment Insurance,Inequality

    Ideological Polarization, Sticky Information, and Policy Reforms

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    We develop a dynamic two-party political economy framework, in which parties seek to maximize vote share and face the trade-off between catering to their respective core constituencies on the one hand and ‘middle of the road’ voters with no partisan affiliation on the other hand. In contrast to ideology-driven individuals, ‘middle of the road’ voters care about the state of the economy in the sense that a policy reform is desirable for them when the fundamentals of the economy change. However, information is “sticky” in the sense that the process of information diffusion about the state of the economy, which is determined by some exogenous stochastic process, is imperfect. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we show that an increase in ideological polarization may enhance social welfare by mitigating the friction in information flow.ideological polarization, sticky information, partisanship, policy reform

    Taxing Children: The Re-distributive Role of Child Benefits - Revisited

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    In this paper, we challenge the conventional wisdom that due to the negative correlation between family size and earning ability, family size can be used as a 'tagging' device, and calls for subsidizing children (via child allowances) to enhance egalitarian objectives. We show that the case for subsidizing children crucially hinges on child allowances being provided on a universal basis. Notably, when child benefits are means-tested, taxing children at the margin (namely, setting the total benefits to decline with the number of children) is socially optimal.child allowance, re-distribution, means-testing, universal, tagging, optimal taxation

    Incorporating Affirmative Action into the Welfare State

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    In this paper, we discuss a novel aspect of affirmative action policy. We examine its redistributive role, asking whether in an egalitarian society, supplementing the tax-transfer system with an affirmative action policy would enhance social welfare.affirmative action, optimal taxation, tagging

    Are Income and Consumption Taxes Ever Really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods

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    The public finance literature demonstrates the equivalence between consumption and labor-income (wage) taxes. We introduce an experimental paradigm in which individuals make real labor-leisure choices and spend their earned income on real goods. We use this paradigm to test whether a labor-income tax and an equivalent consumption tax lead to identical labor-leisure allocations. Despite controlling for subjects’ work ability and inherent labor-leisure preferences and disallowing saving, subjects reduce their labor supply significantly more in response to an income tax than to an equivalent consumption tax. We discuss the economic implications of a policy shift to a consumption tax.experimental economics, tax equivalence, income tax, consumption tax, behavioral economics

    The Macroeconomic Role of Unemployment Compensation

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    The standard motivation for unemployment compensation is consumption smoothing and most papers in the literature have analyzed trade-offs involving consumption smoothing and moral hazard. This paper shows how such policy can increase output by enhancing the assignment of workers to jobs in the face of firm productivity heterogeneity and skill-biased technological change. It shows that in order to do so policy needs to be a function of the properties of the firm's productivity distribution. The paper undertakes an empiricallygrounded, normative analysis of this issue. The analysis also bears upon the wage distribution, showing how optimal unemployment compensation policy is affected by wages and affects them in turn. A key insight emerging from the analysis is that the degree of firm productivity heterogeneity, in terms of skewness and variance, matters for the design of the time path of unemployment compensation.Productivity, heterogeneity, unemployment compensation policy, technological change, assortative matching
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