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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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  4. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Tax policy and international capital flows," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(4), pages 675-697, December.
  5. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 361-368, August.
  10. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "Have IRAs Increased U. S. Saving?: Evidence from Consumer Expenditure Surveys," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 661-698.
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  12. 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.
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  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.
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  19. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
  20. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1992. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving," NBER Working Papers 4181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "Consumer Spending and the After-Tax Real Interest Rate," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 53-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
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  26. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return," NBER Working Papers 0740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. M. S. Feldstein & S. C. Tsiang, 1968. "The Interest Rate, Taxation, and the Personal Savings Incentive," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 419-434.
  28. 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 225-249, Part I, M.
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  30. 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.
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  33. 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.
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