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Optimal Savings Taxation when Individuals have Different CRRA Utility Functions

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  • Alan Krause

Abstract

Recent empirical research has found that high-skill individuals tend to be less risk averse than low-skill individuals, which implies that their respective constant relative risk aversion (CRRA) utility functions have different curvature. This paper examines the effects of this form of preference heterogeneity on the classic question of whether taxing savings is desirable when the government also implements optimal nonlinear income taxation. It is shown that taxing or subsidising savings may be optimal, even if labour is separable from consumption in the utility function. Specifically, if the individuals' discount rate is lower (resp. higher) than the market interest rate, it is optimal to tax (resp. subsidise) savings. If the individuals' discount rate is equal to the market interest rate, zero taxation of savings is optimal. This basic relationship holds under both linear and nonlinear taxation of savings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 12/13.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/13

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Keywords: Savings taxation; nonlinear income taxation; preference heterogeneity.;

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  1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005," NBER Working Papers 12984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2004. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 1244, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Jang‐Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2011. "Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxation with Habit Formation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(3), pages 463-480, 06.
  4. Naito, Hisahiro, 1999. "Re-examination of uniform commodity taxes under a non-linear income tax system and its implication for production efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 165-188, February.
  5. Charles Blackorby & Craig Brett, 2004. "Production Efficiency and the Direct-Indirect Tax Mix," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 165-180, 02.
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