Optimal Taxation with Behavioral Agents


Farhi E, Gabaix X. Optimal Taxation with Behavioral Agents. American Economic Review. 2020;110 (1) :298-336.

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Abstract This paper develops a theory of optimal taxation with behavioral agents. We use a general behavioral framework that encompasses a wide range of behavioral biases such as misperceptions and internalities. We revisit the three pillars of optimal taxation: Ramsey (linear commodity taxation to raise revenues and redistribute), Pigou (linear commodity taxation to correct externalities) and Mirrlees (nonlinear income taxation). We show how the canonical optimal tax formulas are modified and lead to a rich set of novel economic insights. We also show how to incorporate nudges in the optimal taxation frameworks, and jointly characterize optimal taxes and nudges.

Last updated on 07/29/2020