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Corporate Taxation and the Efficiency Gains of the 1986 Tax Reform Act

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  • Gravelle, Jane G
  • Kotlikoff, Laurence J

Abstract

The 1986 Tax Reform Act, while having little effect on the overall effective tax rate on U.S. capital income, did reduce significantly the difference in effective taxation of corporate and noncorporate capital within a number of U.S. industries. The Mutual Production Model developed in Gravelle and Kotlikoff (1989) can be used to study the efficiency gains from the reduction in corporate tax wedges within industries. Unlike the Harberger Model, the Mutual Production Model permits both corporate and noncorporate firms to produce the same goods and, therefore, to coexist within a given industry. This paper develops an 11 industry - 55 year dynamic life cycle version of the Mutual Production Model. We use this model to study the steady state efficiency gains associated with the new law. While we do not simulate the economy's transition path, our steady state welfare changes are those that arise from compensating transitional generations for the first order redistribution of income associated with the Tax Reform. We find that the 1986 Tax Reform law reduces excess burden by .85 percent of our model's economy's present value of consumption. This efficiency gain reflects the Tax Reform's reduction in corporate non-corporate tax wedges, particularly in those industries with significant non-corporate production. Measured as a flow the 1988 estimated efficiency gain from the Tax Reform Act is $31 billion.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gravelle, Jane G & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1995. "Corporate Taxation and the Efficiency Gains of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 51-81, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:6:y:1995:i:1:p:51-81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215-215.
    2. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    3. Ballard, Charles L. & Fullerton, Don & Shoven, John B. & Whalley, John, 2009. "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226036335.
    4. Auerbach, Alan J., 1989. "The deadweight loss from `non-neutral' capital income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1-36.
    5. Christophe Chamley, 1983. "Entrepreneurial Abilities and Liabilities in a Model of Self-Selection," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 70-80, Spring.
    6. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton & John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1985. "Introduction to "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation"," NBER Chapters,in: A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation, pages 1-5 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gravelle, Jane G & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1989. "The Incidence and Efficiency Costs of Corporate Taxation When Corporate and Noncorporate Firms Produce the Same Good," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 749-780, August.
    8. Harberger, Arnold C & Bruce, Neil, 1976. "The Incidence and Efficiency Effects of Taxes on Income from Capital: A Reply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1285-1292, December.
    9. Auerbach, Alan J., 1989. "The deadweight loss from `non-neutral' capital income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1-36.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fehr, Hans, 1999. "Welfare Effects of Dynamic Tax Reforms," Beiträge zur Finanzwissenschaft, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, volume 5, number urn:isbn:9783161470165.
    2. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1996. "The Computational Experiment: An Econometric Tool," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 69-85.
    3. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Thalmann, Philippe, 1993. "Approaches to efficient capital taxation : Leveling the playing field vs. living by the golden rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 169-196.
    4. Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "The dynamic efficiency cost of not taxing housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 397-417.
    5. Gravelle, Jane G., 1995. "The Corporate Income Tax: Economic Issues and Policy Options," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 267-77, June.
    6. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Thalmann, Philippe, 1993. "Approaches to efficient capital taxation : Leveling the playing field vs. living by the golden rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 169-196.
    7. Meh, Césaire A., 2008. "Business risk, credit constraints, and corporate taxation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 2971-3008, September.
    8. Gravelle, Jane G., 1995. "The Corporate Income Tax: Economic Issues and Policy Options," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 267-277, June.
    9. Jane Gravelle & Kent Smetters, 2001. "Who Bears the Burden of the Corporate Tax in The Open Economy?," NBER Working Papers 8280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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