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Genuine saving and the social cost of taxation

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  • Aronsson, Thomas
  • Cialani, Catia
  • Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf
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    Abstract

    Following the 1987 report by The World Commission on Environment and Development, the genuine saving has come to play a key role in the context of sustainable development, and the World Bank regularly publishes numbers for genuine saving on a national basis. However, these numbers are typically calculated as if the tax system is non-distortionary. This paper presents an analogue to genuine saving in a second best economy, where the government raises revenue by means of distortionary taxation. We show how the social cost of public debt, which depends on the marginal excess burden, ought to be reflected in the genuine saving. By presenting calculations for Greece, Japan, Portugal, U.K., U.S. and OECD average, we also show that the numbers published by the World Bank are likely to be biased and may even give incorrect information as to whether the economy is locally sustainable.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 211-217

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:1:p:211-217

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Welfare change; Investment; Saving; Taxation;

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    1. Pezzey, J.C.V.John C. V., 2004. "One-sided sustainability tests with amenities, and changes in technology, trade and population," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 613-631, July.
    2. World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
    3. Hamilton, Kirk, 1996. "Pollution and Pollution Abatement in the National Accounts," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 13-33, March.
    4. Asheim, Geir B, 1994. " Net National Product as an Indicator of Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 257-65.
    5. Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler, 2003. "Evaluating Projects and Assessing Sustainable Development in Imperfect Economies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(4), pages 647-685, December.
    6. Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-68, June.
    7. Aronsson, Thomas, 1998. "Welfare measurement, green accounting and distortionary taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 273-295, November.
    8. Weitzman, Martin L, 1976. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 156-62, February.
    9. Hamilton, Kirk, 1994. "Green adjustments to GDP," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 155-168, September.
    10. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
    11. Aronsson, Thomas & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1996. " Social Accounting and Welfare Measurement in a Growth Model with Human Capital," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 185-201, June.
    12. Pearce, David W. & Atkinson, Giles D., 1993. "Capital theory and the measurement of sustainable development: an indicator of "weak" sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 103-108, October.
    13. Thomas Aronsson, 2008. "Social Accounting And The Public Sector," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 349-375, 02.
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