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"The Optimal Distribution of Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1971.

Paper: pdf file

This paper along with a paper by James Mirrlees, "An Exploration in the Optimal Theory of Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, April 1971, 38, 175-208, led to a fairly large literature on optimal taxation. The paper by Mirrlees has been cited much more than mine, but both papers developed an optimal income taxation framework. Both papers are given equal weight in George Akerlof's paper, "The Economics of 'Tagging' as Applied to the Optimal Income Tax, Welfare Programs, and Manpower Planning," The American Economic Review, March 1978, 68, 8-19. A follow up paper, nearly 50 years later, is 2017#1.