IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Welfare improving distributionally neutral tax reforms

  • Mathieu-Bolh, Nathalie
Registered author(s):

    In a new model with incomplete markets, I quantitatively determine tax reforms that are welfare improving, distributionally neutral, and leave the budget balance unchanged in the long run. I consider a new reform. I eliminate capital income taxation and replace it with progressive consumption taxation, consisting of taxing necessities and luxuries at different rates. I compare steady states under various tax regimes. I find that progressive rather than uniform consumption taxation generates higher welfare gains in the long run and during the transition to the steady state. While this type of reform achieves redistribution neutrality only in the long run, it generates welfare gains for the whole population during the transition. These results stay robust when non-homothetic preferences are considered and progressivity in consumption taxation is achieved by subsidizing consumption of the poor. With respect to long term objectives, the choice of a more progressive consumption or labor-income tax system depends on the modelization of preferences. During the transition, a tax reform involving more progressive labor-income taxation generates smaller redistribution effects than any consumption tax reform.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 1253-1268

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:27:y:2010:i:5:p:1253-1268
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. James Feigenbaum, 2006. "Precautionary Saving Unfettered," Working Papers 227, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2006.
    2. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    3. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," CEPR Discussion Papers 5929, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Mark Gertler, 1997. "Government Debt and Social Security in a Life-Cycle Economy," NBER Working Papers 6000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2005. "On the Optimal Progressivity of the Income Tax Code," CEPR Discussion Papers 5040, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Floden, Martin, 2009. "Why Are Capital Income Taxes So High?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 279-304, June.
    7. Poterba, J.M., 1989. "Lifetime Incidence And The Distributional Burden Of Excise Taxes," Working papers 510, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines Jr., 2001. "Taxation and Economic Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 8181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Frank N. Caliendo & Emin Gahramanov, 2008. "Hunting the Unobservables for Optimal Social Security: A General Equilibrium Approach," Economics Series 2008_10, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
    11. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-75, December.
    12. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    13. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Ben J. Heijdra & Jenny E. Ligthart, 2002. "Tax Policy, the Macroeconomy, and Intergenerational Distribution," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(1), pages 6.
    15. David Altig & Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent A. Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1997. "Simulating U.S. Tax Reform," NBER Working Papers 6248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Piketty, Thomas & Banerjee, Abhijit & Aghion, Philippe, 1997. "Dualism and macroeconomic volatility," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9720, CEPREMAP.
    17. Heijdra, Ben J & Ligthart, Jenny E, 2000. "The Dynamic Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Policy in an Overlapping Generations Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 677-701, October.
    18. Selo Imrohoroglu & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Luisa Fuster, 2007. "Altruism, Incomplete Markets, and Tax Reform," 2007 Meeting Papers 491, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Consumption Taxes and Economic Efficiency with Idiosyncratic Wage Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1088-1115, October.
    20. James R. Hines Jr., 2007. "Taxing Consumption and Other Sins," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 49-68, Winter.
    21. Roger H. Gordon & Joel Slemrod, 1988. "Do We Collect Any Revenue from Taxing Capital Income?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy: Volume 2, pages 89-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
    23. David Domeij & Jonathan Heathcote, 2004. "On The Distributional Effects Of Reducing Capital Taxes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-554, 05.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:27:y:2010:i:5:p:1253-1268. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.