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An extensive look at taxes: how does endogenous retirement affect optimal taxation?

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  • William B. Peterman

Abstract

This paper considers the impact on optimal tax policy of including endogenously determined retirement in a life cycle model. Allowing individuals to determine when they retire causes the optimal tax on capital to increase by 75% because of two implicit changes in the aggregate labor supply elasticity. First, including endogenous retirement causes an increase in the overall aggregate labor supply elasticity since agents can change their labor supply on both the intensive and extensive margins. In response, the government limits the distortions from the tax policy by lowering the tax on labor and increases the tax on capital. Second, given that the choice to retire is more relevant for older individuals, endogenous retirement disproportionately increases older agent's elasticity compared to younger individuals. Ideally, the government would decrease the relative labor income tax on individuals when they are older and supply labor more elastically. However, in the absence of age-dependent taxes, the government mimics such a tax policy by further increasing the tax on capital. I find that the welfare lost from not accounting for endogenous retirement when solving for the optimal tax policy is equivalent to approximately one percent of lifetime consumption.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-28.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-28

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  1. Bas Jacobs & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2005. "Human Capital and Optimal Positive Taxation of Capital Income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-035/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2011. "Towards a micro-founded theory of aggregate labor supply," Working Papers 2011-13, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 23 Nov 2011.
  3. Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Micro and Macro Elasticities in a Life Cycle Model With Taxes," NBER Working Papers 13017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  5. Peterman, William B., 2013. "Determining the motives for a positive optimal tax on capital," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 265-295.
  6. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
  7. Carlos Garriga, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Working Papers in Economics 66, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  8. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
  9. University of Siena & Riccardo Fiorito, 2008. "Labor Supply Elasticities: Can Micro Be Misleading for Macro?," 2008 Meeting Papers 902, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Optimal capital income taxation with housing," Working Papers 10-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  11. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Dayanand S. Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2011. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference Between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Working Papers 16729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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