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2.6. Political Constraints

This lecture covers the positive and normative theories of taxation, ways and means to collect public revenues, and existing informational, administrative, political constraints governments have to deal with. We consider lump sum tax as first best option which implementation in practice, unfortunately, is severely restricted by informational asymmetry. Then follows a cursory introduction into one of the most beautiful (but also most technically complex) parts of public economics which characterizes optimal tax schedules minimizing welfare losses subject to information constraints; such analysis is carried out in the so-called Mirrlees economy. Another focal point of the lecture is the role of elasticity in selecting taxes and how the concept of elasticity can be applied to the analysis of time inconsistency in taxation.

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