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Self-control Preferences and Taxation: A Quantitative Analysis in a Life Cycle Model

  • Cagri S. Kumru


  • Athanasios C. Thanopoulos

This paper examines the impact of various .fiscal policies, namely, taxes on consumption, lab and capital when agents have self-control preferences. Agents trade in a stochastic overlapping generations economy while facing borrowing constraints. We quantitatively show that modelling choices, such as, liquidity constraints, life-cycle structure and idiosyncratic earnings risks, that were previously considered to be critical in delivering a positive capital income tax, need not be binding in this regard. We argue and quantitatively show that for a sufficiently large measure of individuals having self-control preferences instead of CRRA preferences, or alternatively, for a sufficiently high cost of exercising self control when all individuals are self-control types, the optimal capital income tax is zero. Given there is strong empirical and experimental evidence regarding the existence of self-control problems, our model provides quite an interesting insight: as agents.self-control costs rise, the optimal capital income tax rate will converge to Chamley and Judd value.

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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2011-546.

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Length: 28 Pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2011-546
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  9. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
  10. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1998. "The Effect of Tax-Favored Retirement Accounts on Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 749-68, September.
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  12. Imrohoroglu, S., 1997. "A Quantitative Analysis of Capital Income Taxation," Papers 1997/12, Koc University.
  13. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 13375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  18. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2007. "Measuring Self-Control Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 966-972, June.
  19. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
  20. Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Selahattin İmrohoroğlu & Douglas H. Joines, 2003. "Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Social Security," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 745-784.
  21. Kevin X. D. Huang & Zheng Liu & Qi Zhu, 2013. "Temptation and self-control: some evidence and applications," Working Paper Series 2013-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  22. George-Marios Angeletos, 2001. "The Hyberbolic Consumption Model: Calibration, Simulation, and Empirical Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 47-68, Summer.
  23. DeJong, David N. & Ripoll, Marla, 2007. "Do self-control preferences help explain the puzzling behavior of asset prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1035-1050, May.
  24. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2003. "A welfare analysis of social security in a dynastic framework," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
  25. Alessandro Bucciol, 2012. "Measuring Self-Control Problems: A Structural Estimation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1084-1115, October.
  26. Kumru, Çagri S. & Thanopoulos, Athanasios C., 2008. "Social security and self control preferences," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 757-778, March.
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