The efficiency and welfare effects of tax reform: are fewer tax brackets better than more?
AbstractUsing the well-known dynamic fiscal policy framework pioneered by Auerbach and Kotlikoff, we examine the efficiency and welfare implications of shifting from a linear marginal tax rate structure to a discrete rate structure characterized by two regions of flat tax rates of 15 and 28 percent. For a wide range of parameter values, we find that there is no sequence of lump-sum transfers that the (model) government can feasibly implement to make the shift from the linear to the discrete structure Pareto-improving. We conclude that the worldwide trend toward replacing rate structures having many small steps between tax rates with structures characterized by just a few large jumps is not easily accounted for by efficiency arguments. In the process of our analysis, we introduce a simple algorithm for solving dynamic fiscal policy models that include "kinks" in individual budget surfaces due to discrete tax codes. In addition to providing a relatively straightforward way of extending Auerbach-Kotlikoff-type models to this class of problems, our approach has the side benefit of facilitating the interpretation of our results.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 9212.
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- David Altig & Charles T. Carlstrom, 1994. "The efficiency and welfare effects of tax reform: are fewer tax brackets better than more?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q IV, pages 30-42.
- David Altig & Charles T. Carlstrom, 1992. "The efficiency and welfare effects of tax reform: are fewer tax brackets better than more?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 78, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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.:
- Martin S. Eichenbaum & Lars Peter Hansen, 1987.
"Estimating Models with Intertemporal Substitution Using Aggregate Time Series Data,"
NBER Working Papers
2181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eichenbaum, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter, 1990. "Estimating Models with Intertemporal Substitution Using Aggregate Time Series Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 53-69, January.
- King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I & Rebelo, Sergio T, 2002.
"Production, Growth and Business Cycles: Technical Appendix,"
Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 87-116, October.
- Slemrod, Joel, 1990.
"Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-78, Winter.
- Beaudry, P. & Van Wincoop, E., 1992.
"Alternative Specifications for Consumption and the Estimation of the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution,"
2, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Paul Beaudry & Eric van Wincoop, 1992. "Alternative specifications for consumption and the estimation of the intertemporal elasticity of substitution," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 69, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Auerbach, Alan J & Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Skinner, Jonathan, 1983.
"The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 81-100, February.
- Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982.
"Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations,"
Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
- Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1982. "Web interface for "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations"," QM&RBC Codes 4a, Quantitative Macroeconomics & Real Business Cycles.
- Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1982. "Executable program for "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations"," QM&RBC Codes 4, Quantitative Macroeconomics & Real Business Cycles.
- Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
- Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
- Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
- MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
- Rogerson, Richard & Rupert, Peter, 1991. "New estimates of intertemporal substitution : The effect of corner solutions for year-round workers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 255-269, April.
- Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
- Arindam Das-Gupta & Ira Gang, 2000. "Decomposing Revenue Effects of Tax Evasion and Tax Structure Changes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 177-194, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lee Faulhaber).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.