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Human capital and optimal positive taxation of capital income

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  • Bas Jacobs
  • A. Bovenberg

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal linear taxes on capital and labour incomes in a life-cycle model of human capital investment, financial savings, and labour supply with heterogenous individuals. A dual income tax with a positive marginal tax rate on not only labour income but also capital income is optimal. The positive tax on capital income serves to alleviate the distortions of the labour tax on human capital accumulation. The optimal marginal tax rate on capital income is lower than that on labour income if savings are elastic compared to investment in human capital; substitution between inputs in human capital formation is difficult; and most investments in human capital are verifiable. Numerical calculations suggest that the optimal marginal tax rate on capital income is close to the tax rate on labour income.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:17:y:2010:i:5:p:451-478
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-009-9120-5
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; Labor income taxation; Capital income taxation; Life-cycle; Education subsidies; H2; H5; I2; J2;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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