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Capital Income Taxes with Heterogeneous Discount Rates

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  • Peter A. Diamond
  • Johannes Spinnewijn

Abstract

With heterogeneity in both skills and discount factors, the Atkinson-Stiglitz theorem that savings should not be taxed does not hold. We consider a model with heterogeneity of preferences at each earnings level. With some assumptions on the equilibrium, a small savings tax on high earners and a small savings subsidy on low earners both increase welfare, regardless of the correlation between ability and discount factor. Key is that types who value future consumption less are more tempted to switch to a lower paid job. Extending Saez (2002), a uniform savings tax increases welfare if the correlation of skill with discount factor is su¢ ciently high. Some optimal tax results and empirical evidence to support the assumptions are presented.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15115.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Publication status: published as Peter Diamond & Johannes Spinnewijn, 2011. "Capital Income Taxes with Heterogeneous Discount Rates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 52-76, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15115

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  1. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU , Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria del mar, . "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1566, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  3. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2003. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Peter A. Diamond, 2003. "Taxation, Incomplete Markets, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042134, December.
  5. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2004. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 1244, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Christopher Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie Morris & Jonathon Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual laboratory-measured discount rates predict field behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-269, December.
  7. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  8. Chabris, Christopher F. & Laibson, David I. & Morris, Carrie L. & Schuldt, Jonathon P. & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," Scholarly Articles 11130522, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  10. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  11. Diamond, Peter, 2006. "Optimal tax treatment of private contributions for public goods with and without warm glow preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 897-919, May.
  12. Ritva Tarkiainen & Matti Tuomala, 2007. "On optimal income taxation with heterogeneous work preferences," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 3(1), pages 35-46.
  13. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  15. Roger Gordon, 2004. "Taxation of Interest Income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 5-15, January.
  16. Roger H. Gordon & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2014. "The Choice of the Personal Income Tax Base," NBER Working Papers 20227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Kaplow Louis, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Matti Tuomala & Sanna Tenhunen, 2013. "On the design of an optimal non-linear tax/pension system with habit formation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 485-512, June.
  2. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2006. "Do the Rich Save More in Canada?," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 406, McMaster University.
  3. Peter Diamond, 2009. "Taxes and Pensions," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 2-15, July.
  4. Kuhle, Wolfgang, 2012. "Dynamic efficiency and the two-part golden rule with heterogeneous agents," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 992-1006.
  5. Jang-Ting Guo & Alan Krause, . "Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxation with Quasi-Hyperbolic Discounting and No Commitment," Discussion Papers 11/16, Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. Bas Jacobs, 2013. "From Optimal Tax Theory to Applied Tax Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4151, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Benjamin B. Lockwood & Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2012. "De Gustibus non est Taxandum: Heterogeneity in Preferences and Optimal Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 17784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matthew C. Weinzierl, 2012. "The Promise of Positive Optimal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 18599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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