Journal of Public Economic Theory

Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Equilibrium audit strategies against tax treaty shopping

    This paper examines game‐theoretic models of tax treaty shopping. An investor can choose a direct or indirect investment route across countries to minimize tax. A tax agency can audit the investor. The audit is costly but it can give additional revenue to the tax agency. In simultaneous‐move games, regardless of whether incomplete information exists and whether a home country allows foreign tax credits, there are mixed‐strategy equilibria where the investor may choose tax‐minimizing indirect routes and the tax agency may audit the investor. This equilibrium random audit strategy helps the tax agency raise revenue and reduce treaty shopping. Comparative statics yields an implication consistent with empirical evidence. However, if the home country has a foreign tax credit system with a high tax rate, or if the tax agency observes the investor's action in a sequential‐move game, the investor always chooses the direct route, and no treaty shopping occurs in equilibrium.

  • Issue Information
  • Set them (almost) free: Discretion in electoral campaigns under incomplete information

    The paper analyzes a model of electoral campaigning as a problem of competitive delegation. We consider an environment characterized by two sources of uncertainty: uncertainty on the nature of the optimal policy and uncertainty on the candidates’ biases. Although voters know whether the candidate is left‐ or right‐wing, they do not know the extent of the bias. In this environment, discretion may benefit voters as it allows the elected politician to adjust his policies to the state of the world. The paper shows that the optimal set of promises must be a closed interval, whose size is decreasing in the expected bias of the candidate. An example where the set of types is finite shows that an increase in the variability of candidates’ types may either increase or decrease the voters’ willingness to grant discretion to politicians.

  • On the distributional effects of commodity taxation

    A commodity tax system is inequality reducing if the after‐tax distribution of income Lorenz dominates the before‐tax distribution of income, regardless of initial conditions. This paper identifies necessary and sufficient conditions under which an ad valorem commodity tax system is inequality reducing, shedding light on the role of taxing luxury—as opposed to necessary—commodities in the equalization of after‐tax incomes.

  • A pure hedonic theory of utility and status: Unhappy but efficient invidious comparisons

    We examine status preferences where agents compare their own utility relative to the utilities of others. As long as status utility comparisons are not too intense, they do not affect either the competitive equilibrium or the set of efficient allocations. However, status utility comparison may substantially reduce average utility and dramatically increase utility inequality. Equating utility with happiness operationalizes the theory and provides an explanation of why invidious comparisons can generate so much unhappiness without much inefficiency. Our theory has very different welfare implications from other status theories, even when reduced form representations appear observationally equivalent.

  • Optimal mixed taxation, credit constraints, and the timing of income tax reporting

    We study optimal income and commodity tax policy with credit‐constrained low‐income households. Workers receive an even flow of income during the tax year, but report their incomes and make tax payments (receive transfers) at the end of the year. They spend their disposable income on multiple commodities over the year. We show that differentiated subsidies on commodities can be optimal even if the Atkinson–Stiglitz Theorem conditions apply. When the optimal policy leaves low‐income households with binding credit constraints, it may be optimal to subsidize differentially the good that they consume in higher proportion. Uniform subsidies would also relax the credit constraint, but would be more costly to the government since they would equally benefit unconstrained households. Numerical examples suggest that commodity tax differentiation increases with basic needs and with the interest rate at which government borrows.

  • Mixed duopoly: Differential game approach

    This study formulates a dynamic mixed oligopoly model, in which a state‐owned public firm competes against a private firm over multiple periods. We adopt a differential game formulated by Fershtman and Kamien [Econometrica 55 (1987), pp. 1151–1164] and investigate how the dynamic competition affects the optimal privatization policy. We characterize the open‐loop Nash equilibrium (OLNE) and Markov‐perfect Nash equilibrium (MPNE). We show that in the MPNE, an increase in the degree of privatization has a nonmonotonic effect on the price, increasing it in a wide range of parameter spaces, which is in sharp contrast to the result in the OLNE or static analyses. We also find that the optimal degree of privatization is higher in the MPNE than that in the OLNE and static equilibrium. These results suggest that intertemporal strategic behavior changes the optimal privatization policy.

  • Taxation under oligopoly in a general equilibrium setting

    Taxation under oligopoly is analyzed in a general equilibrium setting where the firms are large relative to the size of the economy and maximize the utility of their shareholders. Assuming that preferences are either identical and homothetic or identical and quasi‐linear, then the oligopoly model is an aggregative game, which greatly simplifies the comparative statics for the effects of taxation. This novel analysis of taxation leads to a number of counterintuitive results that challenge conventional wisdom in microeconomics. A lump‐sum tax may increase the price of the oligopolistic good and decrease welfare whereas a profits tax may decrease the price of the oligopolistic good and increase welfare. A profits tax is shown to be superior to a lump‐sum tax. Furthermore, in line with conventional wisdom, total tax revenue is always higher with an ad valorem tax than with a specific tax that leads to the same price for the oligopolistic good.

  • Industry equilibrium with random exit or default

    An industry consisting of a large number of small price taking firms subject to idiosyncratic productivity shocks is considered. At the moment of entry, a firm takes on debt. We show that in a competitive equilibrium, some firms exit and pay out their debt while others choose to default. The outcome depends on the realization of firm‐specific shocks. The paper demonstrates that if the firms self‐select between exit with debt repayment and default, then the default region is disconnected from the exit region. The methodological contribution of the paper is the analytical characterization of the long‐run equilibrium for two scenarios of the initial distribution of productivity shocks. We consider two public policy mechanisms—contract enforcement and creditor protection. Our policy recommendation is that regulators need to reduce the contract enforcement if they want to decrease the long‐run default rate.

  • Lobbying and the international fight against tax havens

    Despite a variety of measures taken by high‐tax countries, the international fight against tax havens so far remains rather ineffective. This paper introduces offshore lobbying as a possible explanation for this observation. The author analyzes the international fight against tax havens in a two‐country model, in which the onshore country exerts pressure on domestic profit‐shifting firms and the tax haven's government lobbies against this measure. In this framework, he finds that pressure and lobbying are strategic substitutes and that there is an extensive margin incentive for offshore lobbying. Furthermore, when starting at initially high costs for profit shifting, a reduction in these costs leads to fewer profit‐shifting firms. Finally, when allowing for a second low‐tax jurisdiction, the overall level of lobbying increases, but less than proportionally.

Featured documents

  • Fairness in tax compliance: A political competition model

    This paper analyzes the political economy of income redistribution when voters are concerned about fairness in tax compliance. We consider a two‐stage model where there is a two‐party competition over the tax rate and over the intensity of the tax enforcement policy in the first stage, and voters...

  • Information transmission during the trial: The role of punitive damages and legal costs

    This paper studies an incomplete information model in which a preventable accident occurred. The judge determining punitive damages observes the firm's (defendant) investment decisions, but is uninformed about the firm's experience adopting safety measures. Our model allows firms to file an appeal...

  • The social cost problem, rights, and the (non)empty core

    We revisit the “Coase theorem” through the lens of a cooperative game model which takes into account the assignment of rights among agents involved in a problem of social cost. We consider the case where one polluter interacts with many potential victims. Given an assignment or a mapping of rights, ...

  • Default and Renegotiation in Public‐Private Partnership Auctions

    The winners of auctions for pubic‐private partnership contracts, especially for major infrastructure projects such as highways, often enter financial distress, requiring the concession to be reallocated or renegotiated. We build a simple model to identify the causes and consequences of such...

  • Green Technology and Optimal Emissions Taxation

    Unless an active environmental policy exists, firms have no incentive to engage in abatement or environmental R&D so policy design is of paramount importance. This design heavily depends on the way R&D spillovers operate. There are two distinct types of R&D spillover: output spillover and input...

  • Rules of evidence and liability in contract litigation: The efficiency of the General Dynamics rule

    We examine rules of evidence and liability in contract litigation. When a contractor fails to perform, it has a legal defense that the buyer withheld private information relevant to the performance of the contract. Suppose the buyer claims that admitting evidence for the defense would compromise a...

  • Inequality, educational choice, and public school quality in income‐mixing communities

    Why, in some urban communities, do rich and poor households cohabit while, in others, we observe sorting by income? Does income inequality impact residential choices and community segregation? To answer these questions, I develop a two‐community general equilibrium framework of school quality,...

  • Selective incentives and intragroup heterogeneity in collective contests

    A group taking part in a contest has to confront the collective action problem among its members, and devices of selective incentives are possible means of resolution. We argue that heterogeneous prize‐valuations in a competing group normally prevent effective use of such selective incentives. To...

  • State‐owned firms and private debt

    We study the role of private debt financing in reducing government transfers and information costs in a state‐owned firm. We show that debt contracts allow the government to reduce socially costly subsidies by letting underperforming state‐owned firms default. When the firm has private information, ...

  • Quantifying Optimal Growth Policy

    We determine the optimal growth policy within a comprehensive endogenous growth model. The model accounts for important elements of the tax transfer system and for transitional dynamics. It captures the three main growth engines based on standard ingredients in order to understand the quantitative...

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT