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Flat Tax Reforms: Investment Expensing and Progressivity

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  • Díaz-Giménez, Javier
  • Pijoan-Mas, Josep

Abstract

In this article we quantify the aggregate, distributional and welfare consequences of investment expensing and progressivity in flat-tax reforms of the United States economy. We find that investment expensing as in the Hall and Rabushka type of reform brings about sizable output gains and a non-trivial increase in after-tax income inequality. But we also find that it results in large aggregate welfare gains in steady-state. Two additional flat-tax reforms with full investment expensing and varying degrees of progressivity reveal that the distributional role of the tax-exemption in the labor income tax is limited. But we also find that the progressivity of the reforms matters for welfare: economies with more progressive consumption-based flat-taxes are good for the very poor and are ultimately preferred by a Benthamite social planner because they allow households to do more consumption and leisure smoothing. Our findings suggest that moving towards a progressive consumption-based flat tax scheme could achieve the goals of raising government income, stimulating the economy and providing a safety net for the households that have been hit the hardest by the recession

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8238.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8238

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Keywords: Efficiency; Flat-tax reforms; Inequality; Progressivity;

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References

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  1. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2002. "Wealth inequality and intergenerational links," Staff Report 314, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Pijoan-Mas, Josep, 2005. "Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Albert Marcet & Francesc Obiols-Homs & Philippe Weil, 2003. "Incomplete Markets, Labor Supply and Capital Accumulation," Working Papers 173, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  5. Aaron, Henry J. & Munnell, Alicia H., 1992. "Reassessing the Role for Wealth Transfer Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(2), pages 119-43, June Cita.
  6. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 1-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  8. David Domeij & Jonathan Heathcote, 2004. "On The Distributional Effects Of Reducing Capital Taxes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-554, 05.
  9. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2008. "Taxation, aggregates and the household," Working Papers 660, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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Cited by:
  1. Ji, K., 2013. "Essays on tax policy, institutions, and output," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5928131, Tilburg University.

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