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Fiscal policies, capital formation, and capitalism

  • Feldstein, Martin

This lecture examines the effects of tax policy and social security retirement benefits on capital accumulation and economic welfare. The paper begins by examining how capital income taxes reduce the real return to savers and then discusses the welfare loss of capital income taxation relative to the alternatives of taxing consumption and labor income.The second part deals with social security retirement benefits. In 1994, older Americans will receive cash and medical benefits that cost the government $530 billion or $16,000 per person over 65. A final section discusses the implications of international capital flows for this analysis. As capital flows become more important, the response of government policy may be to compete for foreign capital inflows and to tax domestic savers more heavily; leading to a smaller total volume of capital. The sharp decline in the net national saving rate-from over 8% of GDP in the U.S. in the 1970s to only 4.5% in the 1980s & from over 14% of GDP in Europe in the 1970s to 9.9% in the 1980s -- may not only create lower real incomes and slower growth but may weaken capitalism itself. In the US a decade of slow growth has increased protectionist tendencies in international trade and led to a new interest in industrial policies that expand the role of the government in guiding the direction of technology of private investment. Government policies that discourage saving might make the Schumpeterian vision of a shift from private capitalism to government-dominated economy more likely

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 39 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 399-420

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:39:y:1995:i:3-4:p:399-420
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Martin Feldstein & Philippe Bacchetta, 1989. "National Saving and International Investment," NBER Working Papers 3164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Poterba, J.M. & Venti, S.F. & Wise, D.A., 1992. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Savings," Working papers 92-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "International Taxation," NBER Working Papers 8854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1990. "Have IRAs Increased U.S. Saving? Evidence from Consumer Expenditure Surveys," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 661-98, August.
  6. Sandmo, Agnar, 1985. "The effects of taxation on savings and risk taking," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 265-311 Elsevier.
  7. Makin, John H & Couch, Kenneth A, 1989. "Saving, Pension Contributions, and the Real Interest Rate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 401-07, August.
  8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  9. Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Working Papers 2845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 25-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Boskin, Michael J, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S3-27, April.
  12. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Tax Policy and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 4851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. French, Kenneth R. & Poterba, James M., 1990. "Japanese and U.S. cross-border common stock investments," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 476-493, December.
  14. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1979. "Testing the Theory of Social Security and Life Cycle Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 396-410, June.
  15. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "Consumer Spending and the After-Tax Real Interest Rate," NBER Working Papers 1991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
  18. Martin Feldstein, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 29-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Feldstein, Martin S, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-20, May.
  20. Barro, Robert J. & MacDonald, Glenn M., 1979. "Social security and consumer spending in an international cross section," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 275-289, June.
  21. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
  22. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1992. "Government Policy and Personal Retirement Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 1-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1983. "Inflation and the Taxation of Capital Income in the Corporate Sector," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 116-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. David, Paul A & Scadding, John L, 1974. "Private Savings: Ultrarationality, Aggregation, and "Denison's Law."," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 225-49, Part I, M.
  25. Blinder, Alan S, 1975. "Distribution Effects and the Aggregate Consumption Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 447-75, June.
  26. 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.
  27. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld83-1.
  28. Michael J. Boskin, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 3-27 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Martin S. Feldstein, 1995. "The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 43-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Feldstein, Martin & Pellechio, Anthony, 1979. "Social Security and Household Wealth Accumulation: New Microeconometric Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(3), pages 361-68, August.
  31. Gale, W.G. & scholz, J.K., 1992. "IRAS and Household Saving," Papers 9244, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  32. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
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