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

  • Cagri Seda Kumru

    ()

    (Research School of Economics, The Australian National University and ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales)

  • Athanasios C. Thanopoulos

    (Council of Economic Advisers of the Government of Greece, Ministry of Finance, Greece)

This paper examines the impact of various fiscal policies, namely, taxes on consumption, labor 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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File URL: http://cepar.edu.au/media/80149/self-control_preferences_and_taxation.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales in its series Working Papers with number 201122.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:asb:wpaper:201122
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  1. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f2, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  3. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Consumption-Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," GSIA Working Papers 2001-05, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  4. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 2004. "Taxing Capital: Not a Bad Idea After All," 2004 Meeting Papers 403, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1999. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 498-531, July.
  9. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2000. "Time inconsistent preferences and Social Security," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 136, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Kumru, Cagri S. & Thanopoulos, Athanasios C., 2011. "Social security reform with self-control preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 886-899.
  11. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  12. Per Krusell & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2000. "Temptation and Taxation," GSIA Working Papers 2001-12, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 1998. "A Quantitative Analysis of Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 307-28, May.
  21. Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
  22. 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.
  23. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  24. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  25. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
  26. 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.
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