How incentives matter ? An illustration from the Targeted Subsidies reform in Iran

Abstract : We use the Targeted Subsidies Reform implemented in Iran in 2011 to recover empirically the social valuations of Iranian households relying on the assumption of optimal taxes. Unlike the existing literature, we do not restrict attention to a specific pattern for the incentive constraints associated with nonlinear income taxation. Instead we recover the Lagrange multipliers corresponding to these constraints. We find evidence of a significant redistribution toward the bottom three deciles of the income distribution before the reform. This redistribution is however limited by an incentive constraint where the rich envy the social treatment of the poor. At the outcome of the reform incentives no longer matter and the social welfare function of the government of Iran displays a Benthamite-like form.
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Stéphane Gauthier, Taraneh Tabatabai. How incentives matter ? An illustration from the Targeted Subsidies reform in Iran. 2017. ⟨halshs-01545856⟩

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