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Optimal Taxation When Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels of Consumption

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  • Andrew B. Abel

Abstract

I examine optimal taxes in an overlapping generations economy in which each consumer's utility depends on consumption relative to a weighted average of consumption by others (the benchmark level of consumption) as well as on the level of the consumer's own consumption. The socially optimal balanced growth path is characterized by the Modified Golden Rule and by a condition on the intergenerational allocation of consumption in each period. A competitive economy can be induced to attain the social optimum by a lump-sum pay-as-you-go social security system and a tax on capital income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10099.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
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Publication status: published as Abel, Andrew B. "Optimal Taxation When Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels Of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, 2005, v72(250,Jan), 21-42.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10099

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  1. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wen-Fang Liu & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Consumption Externalities, Production Externalities, and the Accumulation of Capital," Working Papers UWEC-2002-13-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2003.
  3. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  4. Andres Erosa & Martin Gervais, 2000. "Optimal taxation in life-cycle economies," Working Paper 00-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Carlos Garriga-Calvet, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1772, Econometric Society.
  6. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1997012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Jun 1997.
  7. Andrew B. Abel, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching up with the Joneses," NBER Working Papers 3279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  9. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  10. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
  11. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Mino, Kazuo, 2006. "Consumption Externalities and Capital Accumulation in an Overlapping Generations Economy," MPRA Paper 17016, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2004. "The Welfare State, Redistribution and the Economy, Reciprocal Altruism, Consumer Rivalry and Second Best," CESifo Working Paper Series 1234, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Stuart Adam, 2005. "Measuring the marginal efficiency cost of redistribution in the UK," IFS Working Papers W05/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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