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Tax Policy in a Life Cycle Model

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  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This study departs from earlier analyses of the effects of taxes on capital income in several respects. Probably the most important difference between this treatment and most preceding ones lies in the assumptions about the interest elasticity of saving. It is shown below that the common two-period formulation of saving decisions yields quite misleading results. A more realistic model of life cycle savings demonstrates that, for a wide variety of plausible parameter values, savings are very interest elastic. This implies that shifting away from capital income taxation would significantly increase capital formation, making possible long-run increases in consumption.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0302.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0302.

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Date of creation: Sep 1981
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Publication status: published as Summers, Lawrence H. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model." The American Economic Review, Vol. 71, No. 4, (September 1981),pp. 533-544.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0302

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  1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1979. "Tax Incidence in a Life Cycle Model with Variable Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 705-18, November.
  2. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  3. Michael J. Boskin, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 3-27 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Feldstein, Martin S & Green, Jerry R & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Inflation and Taxes in a Growing Economy with Debt and Equity Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S53-70, April.
  5. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1977. "Is the Rate of Profit Falling?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 211-228.
  6. Boskin, Michael J, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S3-27, April.
  7. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Feldstean, 1980. "Tax Rules and the Mismanagement of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 0422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Inflation and the Taxation of Capital Income in the Corporate Sector," NBER Working Papers 0312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Becker & Don Fullerton, 1980. "Income Tax Incentives to Promote Saving," NBER Working Papers 0487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fischer Black, 1981. "When Is a Positive Income Tax Optimal?," NBER Working Papers 0631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. M. Fatih Guvenen, 2002. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: A Macroeconomic Perspective," RCER Working Papers 491, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER), revised Mar 2003.
  6. E. John Driffill & Harvey S. Rosen, 1984. "Taxation and Excess Burden: A Life-Cycle Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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