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On the optimal timing of capital taxes

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  • Hassler, John
  • Krusell, Per
  • Storesletten, Kjetil
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

Abstract

For many kinds of capital, depreciation rates change systematically with the age of the capital. Consider an example that captures essential aspects of human capital, both regarding its accumulation and its depreciation: a worker obtains knowledge in period 0, then uses this knowledge in production in periods 1 and 2, and thereafter retires. Here, depreciation accelerates: it occurs at a 100% rate after period 2, and at a lower (perhaps zero) rate before that. The present paper analyzes the implications of non-constant depreciation rates for the optimal timing of taxes on capital income. The main finding is that under natural assumptions, the path of tax rates over time must be oscillatory. Oscillatory tax rates are optimal when depreciation rates accelerate with the age of the capital (as in the above example), and provided that the government can commit to the path of future tax rates but cannot apply different tax rates in a given year to different vintages of capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 692-709

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:55:y:2008:i:4:p:692-709

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Pakes, Ariel & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 243-62, April.
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  3. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "The dynamics of government," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1331-1358, October.
  4. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2007. "Democratic public good provision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 127-151, March.
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    • Michael J. Geske & Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2007. "Why Do Computers Depreciate?," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Marcus Hagedorn, 2007. "Optimal Ramsey Tax Cycles," IEW - Working Papers 354, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
  13. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Stephen D. Oliner, 1993. "New evidence on the retirement and depreciation of machine tools," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 147, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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Cited by:
  1. Klein, Paul & Krusell, Per & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2004. "Time Consistent Public Expenditures," CEPR Discussion Papers 4582, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Mathias Trabandt, 2006. "Optimal Pre-Announced Tax Reforms Under Valuable And Productive Government Spending," 2006 Meeting Papers 668, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Kulp, Alison & Hartman, Joseph C., 2011. "Optimal tax depreciation with loss carry-forward and backward options," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 208(2), pages 161-169, January.
  4. Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Research Agenda: Fabrizio Zilibotti on the Equilibrium Dynamics of Policies and Institutions," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), November.

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