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Income taxation and equity

Working Paper 2014-348


This paper addresses the problem of the normative evaluation of income tax systems and income tax reforms. While most of the existing criteria, framed in the utilitarian tradition, are uniquely based on information about individual incomes, this paper, building upon the opportunity egalitarian theory, proposes new equity criteria which take into account also the socio-economic characteristics of individuals. Suitable dominance conditions that can be used to rank alternative tax systems are derived by means of an axiomatic approach. Moreover, the theoretical results are used to assess the redistributive effects of an hypothetical tax reform in Romania through a microsimulation analysis.

Authors: Paolo Brunori, Flaviana Palmisano, Vito Peragine.

Keywords: Income inequality, inequality of opportunity, tax reforms, microsimulation, progressivity, horizontal equity.
JEL: D63, E24, O15, O40.