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The budgetary and welfare effects of tax-deferred retirement saving accounts

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  • Nishiyama, Shinichi

Abstract

The present paper analyzes the budgetary, macroeconomic, and welfare effects of tax-deferred retirement saving accounts, similar to U.S. 401(k) plans, in a dynamic general-equilibrium overlapping-generations economy with heterogeneous households. Because of the initial deferral of tax payments, the short-run budgetary cost of tax-deferred accounts is significantly higher than the long-run cost. Therefore, the budget-neutral introduction of tax-deferred accounts would make current and near-future households worse off, although it would increase national wealth and total output in the long run. If the government spread the short-run cost to future households by increasing debt, the policy change could make all age cohorts, on average, as well off as the economy without tax-deferred accounts. Due to increased government debt and debt service costs, however, national wealth and total output would decrease in the long run. Thus, introducing tax-deferred accounts would not increase national wealth and improve social welfare at the same time. This is partly because the policy change is regressive and reduces the risk sharing effect of the current income tax system.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 1561-1578

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:11:p:1561-1578

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: 401(k) plans; IRA; Dynamic general equilibrium; Heterogeneous agents;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Shinichi Nishiyama, 2013. "Fiscal Policy Effects in a Heterogeneous-Agent Overlapping-Generations Economy With an Aging Population: Working Paper 2013-07," Working Papers 44941, Congressional Budget Office.
  2. Rydqvist, Kristian & Schwartz, Steven & Spizman, Joshua, 2011. "The Tax Benefit of Income Smoothing," CEPR Discussion Papers 8425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. George Kudrna & Alan Woodland, 2012. "Progressive Tax Changes to Private Pensions in a Life-Cycle Framework," Working Papers 201209, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.

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