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Optimal linear taxation under endogenous longevity

  • Marie-Louise Leroux
  • Pierre Pestieau
  • Gregory Ponthiere

    ()

This paper studies the optimal linear tax-transfer policy in an economy where agents differ in productivity and in genetic background, and where longevity depends on health spending and genes. It is shown that, if agents internalize imperfectly the impact of genes and health spending on longevity, the utilitarian social optimum can be decentralized with type-specific redistributive lump sum transfers and Pigouvian taxes correcting for agents' myopia (leading to undersaving and underinvestment in health), and for their incapacity to perceive the effect of health spending on the resource constraint of the economy (causing overinvestment in health). The second-best problem is also examined under linear taxation instruments. Our main result is that it may be optimal to tax health spending, in particular under a complementarity of genes and health spending in the production of longevity.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00148-010-0304-1
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 213-237

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:24:y:2011:i:1:p:213-237
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  1. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  2. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Longevity, Health Spending, and Pay-as-you-Go Pensions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 1-18, March.
  3. Torben Andersen & Joydeep Bhattacharya, 2008. "On Myopia as Rationale for Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 2401, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. EECKHOUDT, Louis & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2007. "Fear of ruin and longevity enhancing investment," CORE Discussion Papers 2007032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Maldonado, Darío & Pestieau, Pierre, 2008. "Taxing Sin Goods and Subsidizing Health Care," CEPR Discussion Papers 6777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
  7. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2010. "Collective Annuities and Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 23-41, 02.
  8. Jie Zhang & Junsen Zhang & Michael Leung, 2006. "Health investment, saving, and public policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 68-93, February.
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