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What Do Aggregate Consumption Euler Equations Say About the Capital-Income Tax Burden?

  • Casey Mulligan

Aggregate consumption Euler equations fit financial asset return data poorly. But they fit the return on the capital stock well, which leads us to three empirical findings relating to the capital income tax burden. First, capital taxation drives a wedge between consumption growth and the expected pre-tax capital return. Second, capital taxation is the major distortion in the capital market, in the sense that most of the medium and long run deviations between expected consumption growth and the expected pre-tax capital return are associated with capital taxation. Third, consumption growth appears to be pretty elastic to the after-tax capital return (i.e., capital is elastically supplied), even while it appears inelastic to returns on various financial assets. Capital income taxes are passed on through reduced capital accumulation, or higher markups, or some combination.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 94 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 166-170

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:2:p:166-170
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041302163
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  1. Feldstein, Martin & Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & Poterba, James, 1983. "The effective tax rate and the pretax rate of return," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 129-158, July.
  2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
  3. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J, 2001. "Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications of Endogenous Solvency Constraints," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 1117-51.
  4. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  5. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
  6. Casey B. Mulligan, 2004. "Robust Aggregate Implications of Stochastic Discount Factor Volatility," NBER Working Papers 10210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  8. Casey B. Mulligan, 2003. "Capital Tax Incidence: Fisherian Impressions from the Time Series," NBER Working Papers 9916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marco Cagetti & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams, 2002. "Robustness and Pricing with Uncertain Growth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 363-404, March.
  10. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Capital, Interest, and Aggregate Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 9373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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