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

Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies

  • Erosa, Andres
  • Gervais, Martin

We use a very standard life-cycle growth model, in which individuals have a labor-leisure choice in each period of their lives, to prove that an optimizing government will almost always find it optimal to tax or subsidize interest income. The intuition for our result is straightforward. In a life-cycle model the individual’s optimal consumption-work plan is almost never constant and an optimizing government almost always taxes consumption goods and labor earnings at different rates over an individual’s lifetime. One way to achieve this goal is to use capital and labor income taxes that vary with age. If tax rates cannot be conditioned on age, a non-zero tax on capital income is also optimal, as it can (imperfectly) mimic age-conditioned consumption and labor income tax rates.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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 Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 105 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 338-369

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:105:y:2002:i:2:p:338-369
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. Ghiglino, C. & Tvede, M., 1999. "Optimal Policy in OG Models," Papers 99-23, Carleton - School of Public Administration.
  2. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1998. "The A-K Model: It's Past, Present, and Future," NBER Working Papers 6684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Marco Bassetto, 1999. "Political economy of taxation in an overlapping-generations economy," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 133, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Jonathan Skinner, 1981. "The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform," NBER Working Papers 0819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Jewitt, Ian, 1995. "Uniform taxation and consumer preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 73-84, September.
  9. Imrohoroglu, S., 1997. "A Quantitative Analysis of Capital Income Taxation," Papers 1997/12, Koc University.
  10. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  12. Yvette Alvarez & John Burbidge & Ted Farrell & Leigh Palmer, 1992. "Optimal Taxation in a Life-Cycle Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 111-22, February.
  13. Paul Klein & JosÈ-VÌctor RÌos-Rull, 2003. "Time-consistent optimal fiscal policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1217-1245, November.
  14. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
  15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  16. Atkinson, A B & Sandmo, A, 1980. "Welfare Implications of the Taxation of Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(359), pages 529-49, September.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 4490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  21. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  23. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  24. 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.
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:jetheo:v:105:y:2002:i:2:p:338-369. 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.