IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v73y1999i3p423-453.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal redistributive capital taxation in a neoclassical growth model

Author

Listed:
  • Lansing, Kevin J.

Abstract

This paper provides a counterexample to the simplest version of the redistribution models considered by Judd (1985) in which the government chooses an optimal distortionary tax on capitalists to finance a lump-sum payment to workers. I show that the steady-state optimal tax on capital income is generally non-zero when the capitalists' utility is logarithmic and the government faces a balanced-budget constraint. With log utility, agents' optimal decisions depend solely on the current rate of return, not any future rates of return or tax rates. This feature of the economy effectively deprives the government of a useful policy instrument because promises about future tax rates can no longer influence current allocations. When combined with a lack of other suitable policy instruments (such as government bonds), the result is an inability to decentralize the allocations that are consistent with a zero limiting capital tax. I show that the standard approach to solving the dynamic optimal tax problem yields the wrong answer in this (knife-edge) case because it fails to properly enforce the constraints associated with the competitive equilibrium. Specifically, the standard approach lets in an additional policy instrument through the back door.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Lansing, Kevin J., 1999. "Optimal redistributive capital taxation in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 423-453, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:73:y:1999:i:3:p:423-453
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(99)00016-X
    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. R. A. Pollak, 1968. "Consistent Planning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 201-208.
    2. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042, Elsevier.
    3. Benhabib, Jess & Velasco, Andres, 1996. "On the optimal and best sustainable taxes in an open economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 135-154, January.
    4. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1997. "Optimal Taxes without Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 231-259, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Atkinson, A B & Sandmo, A, 1980. "Welfare Implications of the Taxation of Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(359), pages 529-549, September.
    7. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    8. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-1175, December.
    9. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    10. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1978. "Notes on Estate Taxes, Redistribution, and the Concept of Balanced Growth Path Incidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 137-150, April.
    11. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
    12. Correia, Isabel H., 1996. "Should capital income be taxed in the steady state?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 147-151, April.
    13. 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.
    14. Robin Boadway, 1979. "Long-run Tax Incidence: A Comparative Dynamic Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 505-511.
    15. Grieson, Ronald E., 1975. "The incidence of profits taxes in a neo-classical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 75-85, February.
    16. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    17. Guo, Jang-Ting & Lansing, Kevin J., 1999. "Optimal taxation of capital income with imperfectly competitive product markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 967-995, June.
    18. Sandmo, Agnar, 1976. "Optimal taxation : An introduction to the literature," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 37-54.
    19. Mervyn A. King, 1980. "Savings and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Cassou, Steven P. & Lansing, Kevin J., 1998. "Optimal fiscal policy, public capital, and the productivity slowdown," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 911-935, June.
    21. 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.
    22. Stern, Nicholas, 1992. "From the static to the dynamic: some problems in the theory of taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 273-297, March.
    23. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M., 1978. "Optimal growth and distribution policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 357-372, June.
    24. Kaitala, Veijo & Pohjola, Matti, 1990. "Economic Development and Agreeable Redistribution in Capitalism: Efficient Game Equilibria in a Two-Class Neoclassical Growth Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 421-438, May.
    25. Epstein, Larry G & Hynes, J Allan, 1983. "The Rate of Time Preference and Dynamic Economic Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 611-635, August.
    26. Xie, Danyang, 1997. "On Time Inconsistency: A Technical Issue in Stackelberg Differential Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 412-430, October.
    27. Besley, Timothy & Jewitt, Ian, 1995. "Uniform taxation and consumer preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 73-84, September.
    28. Owen Stanley, 1978. "Distributional Goals and Optimal Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 389-390.
    29. K. Hamada, 1967. "On the Optimal Transfer and Income Distribution in a Growing Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 295-299.
    30. 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.
    31. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    32. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1988. "The Inverse Optimal Problem: A Dynamic Programming Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 147-172, January.
    33. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Brock, William A., 1980. "Time consistency and optimal government policies in perfect foresight equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 183-212, April.
    34. Kydland, Finn, 1977. "Equilibrium solutions in dynamic dominant-player models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 307-324, August.
    35. Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-468, June.
    36. Homma, Masaaki, 1981. "A dynamic analysis of the differential incidence of capital and labour taxes in a two-class economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 363-378, June.
    37. Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
    38. 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 473-491, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Guo, Jang-Ting & Lansing, Kevin J., 1999. "Optimal taxation of capital income with imperfectly competitive product markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 967-995, June.
    2. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    3. Koskela Erkki & Thadden Leopold von, 2008. "Optimal Factor Taxation under Wage Bargaining: A Dynamic Perspective," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 135-159, May.
    4. Mino, Kazuo, 2001. "Optimal taxation in dynamic economies with increasing returns," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 235-253, August.
    5. Bas Jacobs & A. Bovenberg, 2010. "Human capital and optimal positive taxation of capital income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(5), pages 451-478, October.
    6. Valentinyi, Ákos, 2001. "A tőkejövedelem optimális adóztatása [The optimal taxation of capital income]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 459-479.
    7. Selim, Sheikh, 2006. "On Policy Relevance of Ramsey Tax Rules," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2006/19, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Jul 2006.
    8. James B. Davies & Jie Zhang & Jinli Zeng, 2000. "Optimal Tax Mix in a Two-Sector Growth Model with Transitional Dynamics," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200017, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    9. Ambler, Steve, 1999. "Les modèles à agent représentatif et la politique de taxation optimale," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(4), pages 539-557, décembre.
    10. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Nouriel Roubini, 1995. "Growth Effects of Income and Consumption Taxes: Positive and Normative Analysis," Working Papers 95-18, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    11. Saez, Emmanuel & Stantcheva, Stefanie, 2018. "A simpler theory of optimal capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 120-142.
    12. Baltasar Manzano & Jesús Ruiz, 2004. "Política fiscal óptima: el estado de la cuestión," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(1), pages 5-41, January.
    13. Arefiev, Nikolay & Baron, Tatyana, 2006. "Capital Taxation and Rent Seeking," MPRA Paper 9988, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249, Elsevier.
    15. James B. Davies & Jinli Zeng & Jie Zhang, 2009. "Time‐consistent taxation in a dynastic family model with human and physical capital and a balanced government budget," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3), pages 1023-1049, August.
    16. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421, Elsevier.
    17. Gunther Rehme, 2002. "Distributive Policies and Economic Growth: An Optimal Taxation Approach," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 315-338, August.
    18. Martin Barbie & Claudia Hermeling, 2009. "The geometry of optimal taxation: a primal approach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 39(1), pages 129-155, April.
    19. Andrew Atkeson & V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 23(Sum), pages 3-17.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    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:73:y:1999:i:3:p:423-453. 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: . 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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    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.