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Indirect taxation and the welfare effects of altruism on the optimal fiscal policy

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  • Carlos Garriga
  • Fernando Sánchez-Losada

Abstract

This paper analyzes the welfare effects of altruism on the optimal fiscal policy. The existence of positive bequests links present and future generations in the economy. We show that these altruistic links provide a new role for indirect taxation (consumption and estate taxes) with important welfare implications. We use three different altruistic approaches (warm-glow, dynastic, and family) to illustrate how the presence of bequests in the budget constraint of the donee gives the government the ability to use indirect taxation to mimic lump-sum taxation and to implement the first-best outcome in the long-run. This channel is not present in economies without altruism, such as the infinite-lived consumer economy or the overlapping generations economy, where long-run welfare is suboptimal and indirect taxation is irrelevant.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-047.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-047

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Keywords: Taxation ; Fiscal policy;

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  2. Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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  8. MICHEL, Philippe & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Fiscal policy in an overlapping generations model with bequest-as-consumption," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1988, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  13. Carlos Garriga & Fernando Sánchez-Losada, 2009. "Estate taxation with warm-glow altruism," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 99-118, August.
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  17. De Bonis, Valeria & Spataro, Luca, 2005. "Taxing Capital Income As Pigouvian Correction: The Role Of Discounting The Future," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 469-477, September.
  18. Christopher Sleet & Sevin Yeltekin, 2006. "Credibility and endogenous societal discounting," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 410-437, July.
  19. Laitner, John, 1993. "Intergenerational and interhousehold economic links," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 189-238 Elsevier.
  20. Caballe, Jordi, 1998. "Growth Effects of Taxation under Altruism and Low Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 92-104, January.
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