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A Complete Example of an Optimal Two-Bracket Income Tax

by Wen, Jean-Francois

I provide a simple model that is solved analytically to yield tidy expressions for the Pareto efficient tax structures and the optimal two-bracket marginal tax rates. It is for the special case of equally-sized groups of two skill types and no exogenous spending requirements of the government. The results and the exposition give a self-contained treatment of the central ideas of optimal income taxation.

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