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Optimal capital taxation with idiosyncratic investment risk

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  • Vasia Panousi
  • Catarina Reis

Abstract

We examine the optimal taxation of capital in a Ramsey setting of a general-equilibrium heterogeneous-agent economy with uninsurable idiosyncratic investment or capital-income risk. We prove that the ex ante optimal tax, evaluated at steady state, maximizes human wealth, namely the present discounted value of agents' income from sources that are not subject to capital risk. Furthermore, when the amount of idiosyncratic risk in the economy is higher than a minimum lower bound, the optimal tax is positive and it is precisely the tax that maximizes the economy-wide aggregates, such as the capital stock and output. By contrast, when the amount of risk is exogenously very low, the social planner finds it optimal to increase social risk taking by subsidizing investment in capital.

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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 2012-70.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-70

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  1. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Mirrlees, J A, 1990. "Taxing Uncertain Incomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 34-45, January.
  3. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
  5. Ahsan, Syed M., 1976. "Taxation in a two-period temporal model of consumption and portfolio allocation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 337-352.
  6. Stefania Albanesi, 2006. "Optimal Taxation of Entrepreneurial Capital with Private Information," NBER Working Papers 12419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Panousi, Vasia & Papanikolaou, Dimitris, 2009. "Investment, idiosyncratic risk, and ownership," MPRA Paper 24239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Sandmo, Agnar, 1977. "Portfolio Theory, Asset Demand and Taxation: Comparative Statics with Many Assets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 369-79, June.
  11. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
  12. George-Marios Angeletos, 2007. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Investment Risk and Aggregate Saving," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 1-30, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Shanthi Ramnath & Ivan Vidangos, 2012. "The properties of income risk in privately held businesses," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-69, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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