Public Economics in Action: The Basic Income/Flat Tax Proposal

By A. B. Atkinson | Go to book overview

2.7 Concluding Comment

In this chapter, I have considered the design of a BI/Fr scheme, given that one has been introduced. The purpose has been, not to say that the tax rate should be 30 per cent or 40 per cent, nor to derive simple policy rules, but to explore the structure of the arguments. We have seen some of the consequences of different distributional judgements; we have given a characterization of the equity/efficiency trade-off. In the next chapter, I turn to the choice between the BI/FT scheme and the more complex structure of social insurance and graduated income tax found in most countries.


Appendix: Alternative Special Case: Linear Earnings Function

The special case considered in this Appendix is, like that in the main text, highly simplified, but it does allow for an income effect on labour supply:

(A2.1)

where

. This function is a version of that used by Deaton ( 1983) to obtain an explicit solution of the optimum linear income tax (see also Tuomala 1990: 77), and has the property that gross earnings are a linear function of the wage rate and lump-sum income. With the linear income tax, this means that net income

w(1 - t)L + B = w(1 - t)L* + (1 - δ)B (A2.2)

It may be noted that this labour supply function is the same as the Cobb-Douglas form where L* = (1 - δ); this form was used in the original article by Mirrlees ( 1971) and in Atkinson ( 1972).

An increase in the basic income reduces labour supply, as recipients 'spend' part of their additional income on increased leisure. The extent of the reduction is measured by the parameter δ, which represents the fraction by which net of tax earnings are reduced for a marginal increase in the basic income (or any other lump sum income). So that δ equal to 0.3

-44-

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Public Economics in Action: The Basic Income/Flat Tax Proposal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Lindahl Lectures ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Series Foreword v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Figures xii
  • List of Tables xiv
  • 1 - A First Look at the Issues 1
  • 2 - Optimum Flat Tax and Basic Income 24
  • Appendix: Alternative Special Case 44
  • 3 - Optimum Taxation, Differentiation, and Graduation 47
  • 4 - Liberty and Public Choice Theory 62
  • 5 - A Richer Model of the Labour Market 89
  • 6 - Tax-Benefit Models 109
  • 7 - Taxation and Work Incentives 130
  • 8 - Concluding Reflection: The Integration of Public Economics 154
  • References 157
  • Index 165
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