QED Working Paper Number
1375

We characterize optimal income taxation and unemployment insurance in a search-matching framework where both voluntary and involuntary unemployment are endogenous and Nash bargaining determines wages. Individuals differ in utility when voluntarily unemployed (non-participants in the labour market) and decide whether to participate as a job seeker and if so, how much search effort to exert. Unemployment insurance trades off insurance versus moral hazard due to search. We show that it is optimal to have a positive linear wage tax without any redistributive concerns even if search is efficient so the Hosios condition is satisfied. We also allow for different productivity types so there is a redistributive role for the income tax and show that a proportional wage tax internalizes the macro effects arising from endogenous wages. Lump-sum income taxes and transfers can then redistribute between individuals of differing skills and employment states. Our analysis embeds optimal unemployment insurance into an extensive-margin optimal redistribution framework where transfers to the involuntary and voluntary unemployed can differ, and nests several standard models in the literature.

Author(s)
Katherine Cuff
JEL Codes
H21
H3
J6
Keywords
optimal income taxation
unemployment insurance
Working Paper