Redistributive Taxation in the Roy Model
We consider optimal redistribution in a model where individuals can self-select into one of several possible sectors based on heterogeneity in a multidimensional skill vector. We first show that when the government does not observe the sectoral choice or underlying skills of its citizens, the constrained Pareto frontier can be implemented with a single non-linear income tax. We then characterize this optimal tax schedule. If sectoral inputs are complements, a many-sector model with self-selection leads to optimal income taxes that are less progressive than the corresponding taxes in a standard single-sector model under natural conditions. However, they are more progressive than in canonical multi-sector economies with discrete types and without occupational choice or overlapping sectoral wage distributions.
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This paper was revised on April 25, 2013