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Pareto Improving Taxation in Incomplete Markets

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  • Sergio Turner

Abstract

When asset markets are incomplete there are almost always many Pareto improving policy interventions, provided there are multiple commodities and households. Remarkably, these interventions do not involve adding any new markets. Focusing on tax policy, I create a framework for proving the existence of Pareto improving taxes, for computing them, and for estimating the size of the Pareto improvement. It requires information about how taxes and prices affect aggregate, but not individual, demand. If taxes targeting current incomes are Pareto improving, then they must cause an equilibrium price adjustment, whose role is to redistribute wealth across states, creating insurance beyond the assets'. Conversely, I prove that if the price adjustment is sufficiently sensitive to risk aversions, then for almost all risk aversions and endowments, Pareto improving taxes exist. I show how to verify this sensitivity test with standard demand theory, which Turner (2003a) extends from complete to incomplete markets. I show that different policies generically admit Pareto improving taxes, by showing they all pass this same sensitivity test. These include (a) tax rates on purchases of assets, (b) lump-sum taxes on present income plus one flat tax rate on purchases of assets, (c) asset measurable tax rates on capital gains, (d) tax rates on net purchases of present commodities. I give a formula for the welfare impact of taxes, numerically identifying the Pareto improving taxes. The formula requires information about individual marginal utilities and net trades, and about the derivative of aggregate, not individual, demand with respect to prices and taxes. I estimate the rate of Pareto improvement by defining an agent's equilibrium insurance deficit. This deficit vanishes exactly when her commodity demand is as though markets were complete. The rate is quadratic in the insurance deficits, and affine in the level of trade and in the proximity to price crashes

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 614.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:614

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Keywords: Pareto improvement; taxation; incomplete markets;

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References

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  1. CITANNA, Alessandro & POLEMARCHAKIS, Heracles M. & TIRELLI, M., 2000. "The Taxation of Trades in assets," Les Cahiers de Recherche 721, HEC Paris.
  2. Magill, Michael & Shafer, Wayne, 1991. "Incomplete markets," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: W. Hildenbrand & H. Sonnenschein (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 30, pages 1523-1614 Elsevier.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1982. "The Inefficiency of the Stock Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 241-61, April.
  4. Herakles Polemarchakis, 2001. "The taxation of trades in assests," Working Papers 2001-21, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Debreu, Gerard, 1976. "Smooth Preferences: A Corrigendum," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 831-32, July.
  6. Michael Mandler, 2004. "Policy effectiveness," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 480, Econometric Society.
  7. Atsushi Kajii & Antonio Villanacci & Alessandro Citanna, 1998. "Constrained suboptimality in incomplete markets: a general approach and two applications," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 495-521.
  8. Bisin, A. & Geanakoplos, J.D. & Gottardi, P. & Minelli, E. & Polemarchakis, H., 2011. "Markets and contracts," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 279-288.
  9. Debreu, Gerard, 1972. "Smooth Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(4), pages 603-15, July.
  10. Elul Ronel, 1995. "Welfare Effects of Financial Innovation in Incomplete Markets Economies with Several Consumption Goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 43-78, February.
  11. repec:fth:louvco:0117 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Duffie, Darrell & Shafer, Wayne, 1985. "Equilibrium in incomplete markets: I : A basic model of generic existence," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 285-300, June.
  13. Geanakoplos, J D & Polemarchakis, H M, 1980. "On the Disaggregation of Excess Demand Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 315-31, March.
  14. David Cass & Alessandro Citanna, 1998. "Pareto improving financial innovation in incomplete markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 467-494.
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Cited by:
  1. Fiorini, Luciana C., 2008. "Overlapping generations and idiosyncratic risk: Can prices reveal the best policy?," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(12), pages 1312-1320, December.

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