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Estate Taxes, Consumption Externalities, and Altruism

We study how the introduction of consumption externalities affects the efficiency of the dynamic equilibrium in an economy displaying dynastic altruism. When the bequest motive is inoperative consumption externalities affect the intertemporal margin between young and old consumption and thus modify the intertemporal path of consumption and capital. The optimal tax policy that solves this intertemporal inefficiency consists of a tax on capital income and a pay-as-you-go social security system. The later solves the overaccumulation of capital due to the inoperativeness of the bequest motive and the former solves the inefficient allocation of consumption due to consumption externalities. When the bequest motive is operative consumption externalities only cause an intratemporal inefficiency that affects the allocation of consumption between the generations living in the same period but do not affect the optimality of the capital stock level. This suboptimal allocation of consumption implies in turn that the path of bequest is also suboptimal. The optimal tax policy in this case consists of an estate tax and a capital income tax. The estate tax corrects the intratemporal inefficiency but generates an intertemporal inefficiency which is corrected by means of an appropriate capital income tax.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 658.05.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 08 Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:658.05
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  1. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation and Equilibrium Efficiency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 231-251, 06.
  2. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2007. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 813-836, 04.
  3. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  4. Emmanuel Thibault, 2000. "Existence of equilibrium in an OLG model with production and altruistic preferences," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 709-715.
  5. de La Croix, D. & Michel, P., 1997. "Optimal Growth When Tastes Are Inherited," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97a21, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  6. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
  7. Andrew B. Abel, . "Operative Gift and Bequest Motives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 9-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
  9. Stephen Turnovsky & Goncalo Monteiro, 2006. "Consumption Externalities, Production Externalities, and Efficient Capital Accumulation under Time Non-Separable Preferences," Working Papers UWEC-2006-26-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  10. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caball?Author-Email: jordi.caballe@uab.es & Xavier Raurich, . "Growth, Habit Formation, and Catching-up\ with the Joneses," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 497.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The dynamics of bequeathed tastes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 89-96, October.
  12. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2002:i:7:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Lahiri, Amartya & Puhakka, Mikko, 1998. "Habit Persistence in Overlapping Generations Economies under Pure Exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 176-186, January.
  14. Andrew B. Abel, 2005. "Optimal Taxation when Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 21-42.
  15. Ronald Wendner, 2002. "Capital Accumulation and Habit Formation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(7), pages 1-10.
  16. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  18. David DE LA CROIX & Philippe MICHEL, 2001. "Altruism and Self-Restraint," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 233-259.
  19. Walter Fisher & Franz Hof, 2000. "Relative consumption, economic growth, and taxation," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 241-262, October.
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