Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 23 No. 4 (Fall 2009)


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Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice

Article Citation

Mankiw, N. Gregory, Matthew Weinzierl, and Danny Yagan. 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 23(4): 147-74.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.4.147


The optimal design of a tax system is a topic that has long fascinated economic theorists and flummoxed economic policymakers. This paper explores the interplay between tax theory and tax policy. It identifies key lessons policymakers might take from the academic literature on how taxes ought to be designed, and it discusses the extent to which these lessons are reflected in actual tax policy.

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Download Simulation Files (10.65 KB) | Appendix (148.32 KB)


Mankiw, N. Gregory (Harvard U)
Weinzierl, Matthew (Harvard U)
Yagan, Danny (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

H21: Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation


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