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Accounting for the "disconnectedness" of the economy in OLG models: A case for taxing capital income

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  • Spataro, Luca
  • De Bonis, Valeria

Abstract

The paper extends the works by Judd [K.L. Judd, Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model, J. Public Econ. 28 (1985), 59-83.] and Chamley [C. Chamley, Optimal taxation of capital income in general equilibrium with infinite lives, Econometrica, 54 (1986), 607-622.], who establish that in the long run the capital income tax should be zero, by considering a discrete time version of the Blanchard-Buiter-Weil perpetual youth model. We show that an independent source of non-zero taxation arises whenever the economy is "disconnected" and this feature is properly taken into account by the policymaker. More precisely, if the weight attached to each cohort in the social welfare function equals the corresponding actual share in the population, there is a force pushing towards positive taxation of capital income, which acts as a Pigouvian intervention. Moreover, room for this intertemporal correction shrinks as the relative weight of a cohort tends to zero: thus, the optimal tax rate decreases with age and tends to zero for the oldest. We also show that our result depends neither on life-cycle behavior, as pointed out by the previous literature on OLG models, nor on population growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Spataro, Luca & De Bonis, Valeria, 2008. "Accounting for the "disconnectedness" of the economy in OLG models: A case for taxing capital income," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 411-421, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:25:y:2008:i:3:p:411-421
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    2. Ivan Werning & Emmanuel Farhi, 2005. "Inequality, Social Discounting and Estate Taxation," 2005 Meeting Papers 358, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. de la Croix,David & Michel,Philippe, 2002. "A Theory of Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521001151, April.
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    5. Judd, Kenneth L., 1999. "Optimal taxation and spending in general competitive growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-26, January.
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    7. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The Social Discount Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1257-1268, December.
    8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    9. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 119-128.
    10. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    11. De Bonis, Valeria & Spataro, Luca, 2005. "Taxing Capital Income As Pigouvian Correction: The Role Of Discounting The Future," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 469-477, September.
    12. Buiter, Willem H, 1988. "Death, Birth, Productivity Growth and Debt Neutrality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 279-293, June.
    13. MICHEL, Philippe, 1990. "Criticism of the social time-preference hypothesis in optimal growth," CORE Discussion Papers 1990039, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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    Cited by:

    1. Wendner, Ronald, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Overlapping Generations," MPRA Paper 15527, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Valeria De Bonis, 2016. "Innovation, competition and public procurement in the pre-commercial phase," Public Finance Research Papers 23, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.
    3. Spataro, Luca & Renström, Thomas I., 2012. "Optimal taxation, critical-level utilitarianism and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 727-738.
    4. Wendner, Ronald, 2010. "Conspicuous consumption and generation replacement in a model of perpetual youth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1093-1107, December.

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