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The demand for income tax progressivity in the growth model

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  • Daniel R. Carroll

Abstract

This paper examines the degree of income tax progressivity chosen through a simple majority vote in a model with savings. Households have permanent differences with respect to their labor productivity and their discount factors. The government has limited commitment to future policy, so voting is repeated every period. Because the model features mobility within the wealth distribution, the median voter is determined endogenously. In a numerical experiment, the model is initialized to the 1992 U.S. joint distribution of income and wealth as well as several statistics of the federal income tax distribution. Support for a high degree of progressivity is widespread. In the long run, households that vote for lower progressivity have high labor productivity and/or very high wealth. A movement towards greater progressivity increases aggregate capital and income, but it effects only a small decrease in long-run income and wealth inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1106.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1106

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Keywords: Income tax ; Taxation ; Income distribution ; Wealth;

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References

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  1. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
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  3. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau, 2007. "A Positive Theory of Income Taxation," Departmental Working Papers 200706, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  4. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "The Stationary Distribution of Wealth under Progressive Taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 469-478, July.
  5. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2005. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  7. Corbae, Dean & D'Erasmo, Pablo & Kuruscu, Burhanettin, 2009. "Politico-economic consequences of rising wage inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 43-61, January.
  8. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
  9. Li Wenli & Pierre -Daniel Sarte, 2004. "Progressive Taxation and Long-Run Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1705-1716, December.
  10. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Per Krusell, 2006. "Median-voter Equilibria in the Neoclassical Growth Model under Aggregation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 587-606, December.
  11. Carroll, Daniel R. & Young, Eric R., 2011. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1451-1473, September.
  12. Carbonell-Nicolau, Oriol & Ok, Efe A., 2007. "Voting over income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 249-286, May.
  13. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2010. "Government Purchases Over the Business Cycle: the Role of Economic and Political Inequality," NBER Working Papers 16247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Per Krusell, 2008. "Aggregation and Aggregation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 381-394, 04-05.
  15. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  16. Jim Dolmas, 2008. "What do majority-voting politics say about redistributive taxation of consumption and factor income? Not much," Working Papers 0814, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  17. Esteban F. Klor, 2003. "On the Popular Support for Progressive Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(4), pages 593-604, October.
  18. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 1997. "Progressive taxation and income inequality in dynamic competitive equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 145-171, October.
  19. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1995. "Popular support for progressive taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 319-324, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "A note on sunspots with heterogeneous agents," Working Paper 0906, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Working Paper 0913, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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