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Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Human Capital


  • Reinhorn Leslie J.

    () (University of Durham)


This paper revisits the dynamic optimal taxation results of Jones, Manuelli, and Rossi (1993, 1997). They use a growth model with human capital and find that optimal taxes on both capital income and labor income converge to zero in steady state. For one of the models under consideration, I show that the representative household's problem does not have an interior solution. This raises concerns since these corners are inconsistent with aggregate data. Interiority is restored if preferences are modified so that human capital augments the value of leisure time. With this change, the optimal tax problem is analyzed and, reassuringly, the Jones, Manuelli, and Rossi results are confirmed: neither capital income nor labor income should be taxed in steady state.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhorn Leslie J., 2009. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Human Capital," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-21, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:38

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ortigueira, Salvador & Santos, Manuel S., 2002. "Equilibrium Dynamics in a Two-Sector Model with Taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 99-119, July.
    2. Kenneth L. Judd, 2002. "Capital-Income Taxation with Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 417-421, May.
    3. Pecorino, Paul, 1993. "Tax structure and growth in a model with human capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 251-271, September.
    4. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 11-44, August.
    5. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    6. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E. & Rossi, Peter E., 1997. "On the Optimal Taxation of Capital Income," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 93-117, March.
    7. James B. Davies & Jinli Zeng & Jie Zhang, 2009. "Time-consistent taxation in a dynastic family model with human and physical capital and a balanced government budget," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1023-1049, August.
    8. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    9. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-278, June.
    10. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E & Rossi, Peter E, 1993. "Optimal Taxation in Models of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 485-517, June.
    11. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    12. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1998. "On the taxation of human and physical capital in models of endogenous growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 237-254, November.
    13. Antonio Ladrón-de-Guevara & Salvador Ortigueira & Manuel S. Santos, 1999. "A Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth with Leisure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 609-631.
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    Cited by:

    1. Igor Kotlán & Zuzana Machová & Lenka Janíčková, 2011. "Vliv zdanění na dlouhodobý ekonomický růst
      [Taxation Influence on the Economic Growth]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(5), pages 638-658.
    2. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2015. "Optimal sales tax rebates and tax enforcement consumers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 479-493.
    3. Basu, Parantap & Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2004. "Optimal Dynamic Taxation with Indivisible Labour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation


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