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Capital Taxation in the Twenty-First Century

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  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Kevin Hassett

Abstract

In his influential book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty argues forcefully that rising wealth and wealth inequality is an inherent characteristic of capitalist economies and calls for strong policy responses, in particular a substantial wealth tax implemented globally. This paper takes issue with the facts, logic, and policy conclusions in Piketty's book, suggesting that the factors needed to support the inexorable rise in capital's share and concentration are lacking and that among tax policy reforms aimed at dealing with economic inequality a wealth tax finds little support either in Piketty's own work or elsewhere in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 2015. "Capital Taxation in the Twenty-First Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 38-42, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:38-42
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151058
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
    2. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Top Incomes and the Great Recession: Recent Evolutions and Policy Implications," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(3), pages 456-478, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian E. Spiegel & Alexandra Kloss, 2017. "Determinants of Tax Fairness Perception and the Role of Self-Interest - Results from Two German Surveys," Eurasian Journal of Economics and Finance, Eurasian Publications, vol. 5(4), pages 50-75.
    2. Thomas Piketty, 2015. "About Capital in the Twenty-First Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 48-53, May.
    3. Marisa Civardi & Renata Targetti Lenti, 2018. "Can the link between functional and personal income distribution enhance the analysis of inequality?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 65(2), pages 137-156, June.
    4. Müller, Daniel, 2019. "The anatomy of distributional preferences with group identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 785-807.
    5. Azmat, Saad & Ayub, Ahmad & Brown, Kym & Skully, Michael, 2020. "The inequality debate: Do financial markets matter?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C).
    6. Marius Brülhart & Jonathan Gruber & Matthias Krapf & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2016. "Taxing Wealth: Evidence from Switzerland," NBER Working Papers 22376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert S. Chirinko & Debdulal Mallick, 2017. "The Substitution Elasticity, Factor Shares, and the Low-Frequency Panel Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 225-253, October.
    8. Niemann, Rainer & Sureth, Caren, 2016. "Does capital tax uncertainty delay irreversible risky investment?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 209, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    9. Rainer Niemann & Caren Sureth-Sloane, 2016. "Does Capital Tax Uncertainty Delay Irreversible Risky Investment?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6046, CESifo.
    10. Bofinger, Peter & Schnabel, Isabel & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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