Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 1/2017: Should the marginal tax rate be negative? Ragnar Frisch on the socially optimal amount of work.

Agnar Sandmo ()
Additional contact information
Agnar Sandmo: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: In the late 1940s, Ragnar Frisch published two articles in Norwegian that constitute a pioneering attempt to apply welfare economics to a problem of economic policy. The main contention of the articles is that there exists a fundamental externality in the labour market because the marginal productivity of labour depends both on input in the individual unit and on total labour use in the economy. While inspired by the problems of postwar reconstruction, Frisch came to regard it as a general problem in a decentralized economy, and he explores its consequences for wage and tax policy. While Frisch attached great importance to the analysis, it has received little attention in the subsequent literature.

Keywords: Economic policy; wage; tax policy

JEL-codes: E20

35 pages, January 23, 2017

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