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Measuring Tax Efficiency - A Tax Optimality Index

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This paper introduces an index of tax optimality thatmeasures the distance of some current tax structure from the optimal taxstructure in the presence of public goods. In doing so, we derive a [0, 1]number that reveals immediately how far the current tax configurationis from the optimal one and, thereby, the degree of efficiency of a taxsystem. We call this number the Tax Optimality Index. We show howthe basic method can be altered in order to derive a revenue equivalentuniform tax, which measures the size of the public sector. A numericalexample is used to illustrate the method developed.JEL Code: H21, H41.Keywords: Tax optimality index, excess burden, distance function.Authors Affiliations: Raimondos-Møller: Copenhagen Business School, CEPR,CESifo, and EPRU. Woodland: University of Sydney.

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Pascalis Raimondos-Møller, Alan D. Woodland

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