Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax
In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11
AbstractAs a tax base, 'consumption' is sometimes argued to be less fair than 'income' because the benefits of not taxing capital income accrue to high-income households. We argue that, despite the common perception that consumption taxation eliminates all taxes on capital income, consumption and income taxes actually treat similarly much of what is commonly called capital income. Indeed, relative to an income tax, a consumption tax exempts only the tax on the opportunity cost of capital. In contrast to a pure income tax, a consumption tax replaces capital depreciation with capital expensing. This change eliminates the tax on the opportunity cost of capital, but does not change, relative to the income tax, the tax treatment of capital income arising from a risk premium, inframarginal profit, or luck. Because these components of capital income are more heavily skewed toward the top of the distribution of economic well-being, a consumption tax is more progressive than would be estimated under conventional distributional assumptions. We prepare distribution tables and demonstrate that this modification is quantitatively important.
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Other versions of this item:
- William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax," NBER Working Papers 5832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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- Martin Feldstein, 1995. "The Effect of a Consumption Tax on the Rate of Interest," NBER Working Papers 5397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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