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Estate taxes, consumption externalities, and altruism

  • Alonso-Carrera, Jaime
  • Caballé, Jordi
  • Raurich, Xavier

We study how the introduction of consumption externalities affects the optimality of the dynamic equilibrium in an economy displaying dynastic altruism. When the bequest motive is inoperative consumption externalities affect the intertemporal margin between young and old consumption and thus modify the intertemporal path of aggregate consumption and capital. The optimal tax policy that solves this intertemporal suboptimality consists of a tax on capital income and a pay-as-you-go social security system. The latter solves the excess of capital accumulation due to the inoperativeness of the bequest motive and the former solves the suboptimal allocation of consumption due to consumption externalities. When the bequest motive is operative consumption externalities only cause an intratemporal misallocation of consumption but do not affect the optimality of the capital stock level. This suboptimal allocation of consumption implies in turn that the path of bequest deviates also from optimality. The optimal tax policy in this case consists of an estate tax and a capital income tax.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1751-1764

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:7:p:1751-1764
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. John Laitner, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 275-299.
  2. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2007. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 813-836, 04.
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  10. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
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  14. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Altruism and self-refrain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1998.
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  16. Amartya Lahiri & Mikko Puhakka, 1996. "Habit Persistence in Overlapping Generations Economies Under Pure Exchange," UCLA Economics Working Papers 754, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2001. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation, and Equilibrium Efficiency," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 499.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  18. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caball?Author-Email: jordi.caballe@uab.es & Xavier Raurich, . "Growth, Habit Formation, and Catching-up\ with the Joneses," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 497.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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