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Preference Heterogeneity and Optimal Capital Income Taxation

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  • Matthew Weinzierl

    (Harvard Business School)

  • Aleh Tsyvinski

    (Yale)

  • Mikhail Golosov

    (Yale)

Abstract

We analytically and quantitatively examine a prominent justifi cation for capital income taxation: goods preferred by those with high ability ought to be taxed. We study an environment where commodity taxes are allowed to be nonlinear functions of income and consumption and find that, when ability is positively related to a preference for a good, optimal marginal commodity taxes on this good may be regressive: i.e., declining with income. We derive an analytical expression for optimal commodity taxation, allowing us to study the forces for and against regressivity. We then parameterize the model to evidence on the relationship between skills and preferences and examine the quantitative case for taxes on future consumption (saving). The relationship between skill and time preference delivers quantitatively small, generally regressive capital income taxes and would justify only a fraction of the prevailing level of capital income taxation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 748.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:748

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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Taxation: Merging Micro and Macro Approaches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 147-174, 08.
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  4. Pricila Maziero & Laurence Ales, 2008. "Accounting for private information," Working Papers 663, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  6. Tsyvinski, A. & Golosov, M., 2004. "Optimal Taxation with Endogenous Insurance Markets," 2004 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Dynamic Taxes," NBER Working Papers 17642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Dynamic optimal taxation with private information," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 140, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  16. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "The rate of time preference and shocks to wealth: evidence from panel data," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 134, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
  19. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Antoine Bozio & Guy Laroque & Cormac O'Dea, 2013. "Heterogeneity in time preference in older households," IFS Working Papers W13/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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