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The taxation of capital returns in overlapping generations models

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  • Dávila, Julio

Abstract

This paper shows that in the Diamond (1965) overlapping generations economy with production and capital savings, there is a period-by-period balanced fiscal policy supporting a steady state allocation that Pareto-improves upon the laissez-faire competitive equilibrium steady state (whether dynamically inefficient or efficient) without resorting to intergenerational transfers. The policy consists of taxing linearly (or subsidizing, in the dynamically efficient case) the returns to capital, while balancing the budget period by period through a lump-sum transfer (or tax, respectively) in second period. This intervention grants every generation the highest steady state utility attainable through markets (i.e. remunerating factors by their marginal productivities and without transfers) which under laissez-faire is not a competitive equilibrium outcome. A transition from the competitive equilibrium steady state to this other steady state is also Pareto-improving when the former is dynamically inefficient. The result disentangles from redistributive considerations the impact of the taxation of capital returns on steady state welfare, and thus provides a rationale for the taxation of capital returns that is based on efficiency considerations and not on redistributive goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Dávila, Julio, 2012. "The taxation of capital returns in overlapping generations models," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 441-453.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:34:y:2012:i:2:p:441-453
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2011.12.010
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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.
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    8. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    9. Andrew Atkeson & V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hiraguchi, Ryoji & Shibata, Akihisa, 2015. "Taxing capital is a good idea: The role of idiosyncratic risk in an OLG model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 258-269.
    2. Bullard, James & Garriga, Carlos & Waller, Christopher J., 2012. "Demographics, redistribution, and optimal inflation," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 419-440.
    3. repec:fip:fedlps:y:2012:i:may30 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Taxation of capital; Overlapping generations;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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