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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. Ariel Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," NBER Working Papers 0933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Correia, Isabel H., 1996. "Should capital income be taxed in the steady state?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 147-151, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Mathias Trabandt, 2007. "Optimal Pre-Announced Tax Reform Revisited," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/52, European University Institute.
  2. Paul Klein & Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2004. "Time-Consistent Public Expenditures," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000652, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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