IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v146y2017icp58-78.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Redistribution and insurance with simple tax instruments

Author

Listed:
  • Findeisen, Sebastian
  • Sachs, Dominik

Abstract

We analyze optimal taxation of labor and capital income in a life cycle framework with idiosyncratic income risk and ex-ante heterogeneity. Tax instruments are simple in that they can only condition on current income. We provide a decomposition of labor income tax formulas into a redistribution and an insurance component. The latter is independent of the social welfare function and determined by the degree of income risk and risk aversion. The optimal linear capital tax is non-zero and trades off redistribution and insurance against savings distortions. Our quantitative results reveal that the insurance component contributes significantly to optimal labor income tax rates and provides a lower bound on optimal taxes. Optimal capital taxes are significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2017. "Redistribution and insurance with simple tax instruments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 58-78.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:146:y:2017:i:c:p:58-78
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.12.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272716302109
    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1587-1621, September.
    2. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "Optimal Income, Education, and Bequest Taxes in an Intergenerational Model," NBER Working Papers 21177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jacobs, Bas & Schindler, Dirk, 2012. "On the desirability of taxing capital income in optimal social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 853-868.
    4. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    5. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "A Theory of Optimal Inheritance Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(5), pages 1851-1886, September.
    6. Marek Kapicka & Julian Neira, 2015. "Optimal Taxation with Risky Human Capital," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp553, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    7. Carlos da Costa, 2015. "Age-dependent taxes with endogenous human capital formation," 2015 Meeting Papers 824, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, May.
    9. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    10. Marek Kapicka, 2006. "Optimal Income Taxation with Human Capital Accumulation and Limited Record Keeping," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 612-639, October.
    11. Spencer Bastani & Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2013. "The Welfare Gains Of Age‐Related Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1219-1249, November.
    12. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    13. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Schultz, Esben Anton, 2014. "Estimating taxable income responses using Danish tax reforms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
    15. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    16. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
    17. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "La redistribution fiscale face au chômage," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 12(1), pages 157-201.
    18. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-1179, September.
    19. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vivian Z. Yue, 2012. "A General Equilibrium Model of Sovereign Default and Business Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 889-946.
    20. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2014. "The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 621-660.
    21. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2011. "Earnings, Consumption and Life Cycle Choices," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    22. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2014. "A Variational Approach to the Analysis of Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 20780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Emmanuel Farhi, 2013. "Insurance and Taxation over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 596-635.
    24. Peter J. Hammond, 1987. "Markets as Constraints: Multilateral Incentive Compatibility in Continuum Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 399-412.
    25. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2011. "Are Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities Consistent? A Review of Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 471-475, May.
    26. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    27. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587.
    28. Michelle Harding, 2013. "Taxation of Dividend, Interest, and Capital Gain Income," OECD Taxation Working Papers 19, OECD Publishing.
    29. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Income Changes," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 479-506, September.
    30. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    31. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    32. Mark Huggett & Alejandro Badel, 2013. "Taxing Top Earners: A Human Capital Perspective," 2013 Meeting Papers 625, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    33. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-417, June.
    34. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2016. "Redistribution and Social Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 359-386, February.
    35. Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "A Simpler Theory of Optimal Capital Taxation," NBER Working Papers 22664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    37. Matthew Weinzierl, 2011. "The Surprising Power of Age-Dependent Taxes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1490-1518.
    38. Emmanuel Farhi & Christopher Sleet & Iván Werning & Sevin Yeltekin, 2012. "Non-linear Capital Taxation Without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1469-1493.
    39. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2014. "Efficient Labor and Capital Income Taxation over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 14-17, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    40. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1999. " Uncertainty, Commitment, and Optimal Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 51-70.
    41. Julian Neira & Marek Kapicka, 2012. "Optimal Taxation in a Life-Cycle Economy with Endogenous Human Capital Formation," 2012 Meeting Papers 1164, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    42. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2010. "The New Dynamic Public Finance," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9222, June.
    43. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 2012. "Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, Third Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262018748, November.
    44. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
    45. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2008. "Age-related Optimal Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 45-71, March.
    46. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2015. "Designing Efficient College and Tax Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 9171, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    47. Sachs, Dominik & Findeisen, Sebastian, 2014. "Designing Efficient Education and Tax Policies," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100504, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    48. da Costa, Carlos E. & Maestri, Lucas J., 2007. "The risk properties of human capital and the design of government policies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 695-713, April.
    49. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
    50. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Esben Anton Schultz, 2014. "Estimating Taxable Income Responses Using Danish Tax Reforms," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 271-301, November.
    51. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2016. "Education and optimal dynamic taxation: The role of income-contingent student loans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 1-21.
    52. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty and optimal taxation: In defense of commodity taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 291-310, February.
    53. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Taxation; Capital Taxation; Redistribution; Insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:146:y:2017:i:c:p:58-78. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.