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Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States

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  • David Altig

Abstract

This paper uses a new, large-scale, dynamic life-cycle simulation model to compare the welfare and macroeconomic effects of transitions to five fundamental alternatives to the U.S. federal income tax, including a proportional consumption tax and a flat tax. The model incorporates intragenerational heterogeneity and a detailed specification of alternative tax systems. Simulation results project significant long-run increases in output for some reforms. For other reforms, namely those that seek to insulate the poor and initial older generations from adverse welfare changes, long-run output gains are modest.

Suggested Citation

  • David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:3:p:574-595
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.3.574
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 1-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
    3. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    4. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus & David N. Weil, 1994. "The annuitization of Americans' resources: a cohort analysis," Working Paper 9413, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Joel Slemrod & Jon Bakija, 2004. "Taxing Ourselves, 3rd Edition: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 026269302x, January.
    7. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "A Model of Inherited Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 608-626.
    8. Auerbach, Alan J, 1989. "Tax Reform and Adjustment Costs: The Impact on Investment and Market Value," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 939-962, November.
    9. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Robert P. Hagemann & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 1989. "The Economic Dynamics of an Ageing Population: The Case of Four OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 62, OECD Publishing.
    10. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-646, September.
    11. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
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    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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