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On the Optimality of Progressive Income Redistribution

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Author Info

  • Markus Poschke

    (McGill)

  • Baris Kaymak

    (Universite de Montreal)

  • Ozan Bakis

    (Galatasaray University Economic Research Center (GIAM),)

Abstract

We compute the optimal non-linear tax policy in a dynastic economy with unin- surable risk, where generations are linked by dynastic wealth accumulation and corre- lated incomes. Unlike earlier studies, we find that the optimal tax policy is moderately regressive. Regressive taxes lead to higher output and consumption, at the expense of larger after-tax income inequality. Nevertheless, the availability of self-insurance via bequests, in particular, mitigates the impact of regressive taxes on consumption in- equality, resulting in improved average welfare overall. We also consider the optimal once-and-for-all change in the tax system, taking into account the transition dynamics. We find, given the current wealth and income distribution in the US, that the optimal tax system is not far from the existing tax schedule.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 837.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:837

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References

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  1. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1997. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," GSIA Working Papers 228, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2009. "Public versus Private Risk Sharing," NBER Working Papers 15582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," NBER Working Papers 12880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  5. Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante & Jonathan Heathcote, 2010. "Redistributive Taxation in a Partial-Insurance Economy," 2010 Meeting Papers 1124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Tsyvinski, A. & Golosov, M., 2004. "Optimal Taxation with Endogenous Insurance Markets," 2004 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Juan Carlos Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "On the Optimal Progressivity of the Income Tax Code," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 4, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
  8. 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.
  9. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  10. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Steven J. Haider, 2000. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Working Papers 00-15, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  12. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Seshadri, Ananth & Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2004. "Equity and efficiency effects of redistributive policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1415-1447, October.
  14. Erosa, Andres & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2007. "Progressive taxation in a dynastic model of human capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 667-685, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2014. "Optimal Tax Progressivity: An Analytical Framework," Staff Report 496, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Dirk Krueger & Alexander Ludwig, 2013. "Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation," Working Paper Series in Economics 60, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  3. Acikgoz, Omer, 2013. "Transitional Dynamics and Long-run Optimal Taxation Under Incomplete Markets," MPRA Paper 50160, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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