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Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities

This paper derives optimal top tax rate formulas in a model where top earners respond to taxes through three channels: labor supply, tax avoidance, and compensation bargaining. The optimal top tax rate increases when there are zero-sum compensation-bargaining effects. We present empirical evidence c... Full description

Journal Title: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2014-02-01, Vol.6 (1), p.230-271
Main Author: Piketty, Thomas
Other Authors: Saez, Emmanuel , Stantcheva, Stefanie
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: American Economic Association
ID: ISSN: 1945-7731
Link: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00944873
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title: Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities
format: Article
creator:
  • Piketty, Thomas
  • Saez, Emmanuel
  • Stantcheva, Stefanie
subjects:
  • Accounting
  • Avoidance
  • Business Administration
  • Business Economics
  • Capital gains
  • Chief executive officers
  • Distribution
  • Economics
  • Economics and Finance
  • Effective income tax rates
  • Efficiency
  • Estimated taxes
  • Executive Compensation
  • Executives
  • Finance
  • Humanities
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Income shares
  • Income taxes
  • Marginal tax rate
  • Marketing
  • Microeconomics
  • optimal income taxation
  • Optimal Taxation
  • Other Nonbusiness Taxes
  • Personal Income
  • Personnel Economics
  • Personnel Management
  • Price elasticity of supply
  • Public Economics
  • Revenue
  • Social Sciences
  • Subsidies
  • Tax Evasion
  • Tax rates
  • Taxation
  • Their Distributions
  • Top Labor Incomes
  • Wealth
ispartof: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2014-02-01, Vol.6 (1), p.230-271
description: This paper derives optimal top tax rate formulas in a model where top earners respond to taxes through three channels: labor supply, tax avoidance, and compensation bargaining. The optimal top tax rate increases when there are zero-sum compensation-bargaining effects. We present empirical evidence consistent with bargaining effects. Top tax rate cuts are associated with top one percent pretax income shares increases but not higher economic growth. US CEO "pay for luck" is quantitatively more prevalent when top tax rates are low. International CEO pay levels are negatively correlated with top tax rates, even controlling for firms' characteristics and performance.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 1945-7731
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 1945-7731
  • 1945-774X
url: Link


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descriptionThis paper derives optimal top tax rate formulas in a model where top earners respond to taxes through three channels: labor supply, tax avoidance, and compensation bargaining. The optimal top tax rate increases when there are zero-sum compensation-bargaining effects. We present empirical evidence consistent with bargaining effects. Top tax rate cuts are associated with top one percent pretax income shares increases but not higher economic growth. US CEO "pay for luck" is quantitatively more prevalent when top tax rates are low. International CEO pay levels are negatively correlated with top tax rates, even controlling for firms' characteristics and performance.
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subjectAccounting ; Avoidance ; Business Administration ; Business Economics ; Capital gains ; Chief executive officers ; Distribution ; Economics ; Economics and Finance ; Effective income tax rates ; Efficiency ; Estimated taxes ; Executive Compensation ; Executives ; Finance ; Humanities ; Humanities and Social Sciences ; Income shares ; Income taxes ; Marginal tax rate ; Marketing ; Microeconomics ; optimal income taxation ; Optimal Taxation ; Other Nonbusiness Taxes ; Personal Income ; Personnel Economics ; Personnel Management ; Price elasticity of supply ; Public Economics ; Revenue ; Social Sciences ; Subsidies ; Tax Evasion ; Tax rates ; Taxation ; Their Distributions ; Top Labor Incomes ; Wealth
ispartofAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2014-02-01, Vol.6 (1), p.230-271
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2Business Administration
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10Efficiency
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26Personnel Economics
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36Their Distributions
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abstractThis paper derives optimal top tax rate formulas in a model where top earners respond to taxes through three channels: labor supply, tax avoidance, and compensation bargaining. The optimal top tax rate increases when there are zero-sum compensation-bargaining effects. We present empirical evidence consistent with bargaining effects. Top tax rate cuts are associated with top one percent pretax income shares increases but not higher economic growth. US CEO "pay for luck" is quantitatively more prevalent when top tax rates are low. International CEO pay levels are negatively correlated with top tax rates, even controlling for firms' characteristics and performance.
pubAmerican Economic Association
doi10.1257/pol.6.1.230
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