IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

How Far are We from the Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited

  • Harald Uhlig

    (University of Chicago)

  • Mathias Trabandt


    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

We characterize the Laffer curves for labor taxation and capital income taxation quantitatively for the US, the EU-14 and individual European countries by comparing the balanced growth paths of a neoclassical growth model featuring †constant Frisch elasticity†(CFE) preferences. We derive properties of CFE preferences. We provide new tax rate data. For benchmark parameters, we find that the US can increase tax revenues by 30% by raising labor taxes and 6% by raising capital income taxes. For the EU-14 we obtain 8% and 1%. Denmark and Sweden are on the wrong side of the Laffer curve for capital income taxation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009-005.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfi:wpaper:2009-005
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ellen R. McGrattan & Richard Rogerson, 2004. "Changes in hours worked, 1950?2000," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 14-33.
  2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2002. "A Simple Framework for International Monetary Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Business cycle accounting," Working Papers 625, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Klein, Paul & Krusell, Per & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2004. "Time Consistent Public Expenditures," CEPR Discussion Papers 4582, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-50, June.
  7. Ludvigson, Sydney, 1996. "The macroeconomic effects of government debt in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 25-45, August.
  8. Enrique G. Mendoza & Linda L. Tesar, 1995. "Supply-side economics in a global economy," International Finance Discussion Papers 507, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Ireland, Peter N., 1994. "Supply-side economics and endogenous growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 559-571, June.
  10. Alesina, Alberto F & Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the US and Europe: Why So Different?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5140, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2007. "Do Taxes Explain European Employment? Indivisible Labor, Human Capital, Lotteries, and Savings," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 181-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bruce, Neil & Turnovsky, Stephen J, 1999. "Budget Balance, Welfare, and the Growth Rate: "Dynamic Scoring" of the Long-Run Government Budget," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(2), pages 162-86, May.
  13. Correia, Isabel & Neves, Joao C. & Rebelo, Sergio, 1995. "Business cycles in a small open economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1089-1113, June.
  14. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Sunghyun Henry Kim & Jinill Kim, 2005. "Welfare Effects of Tax Policy in Open Economies: Stabilization and Cooperation," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 169, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. Eric M. Leeper & Tack Yun, 2005. "Monetary-Fiscal Policy Interactions and the Price Level: Background and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 11646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Enrique G. Mendoza & Assaf Razin & Linda L. Tesar, 1994. "Effective Tax Rates in Macroeconomics: Cross-Country Estimates of Tax Rates on Factor Incomes and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1991. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 37, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Novales, Alfonso & Ruiz, Jesus, 2002. "Dynamic Laffer curves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 181-206, December.
  21. David Carey & Josette Rabesona, 2002. "Tax Ratios on Labour and Capital Income and on Consumption," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2002(2), pages 129-174.
  22. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
  24. Christopher L. House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2004. "Phased-In Tax Cuts and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 10415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1995. "Balanced-budget rules, distortionary taxes, and aggregate instability," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2005. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Consumption and Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 769-796, October.
  27. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1998. "Sticky price models of the business cycle: can the contract multiplier solve the persistence problem?," Staff Report 217, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2001. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, January.
  30. Robert E. Hall, 1987. "Consumption," NBER Working Papers 2265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Eric M. Leeper & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2006. "Dynamic Scoring: Alternative Financing Schemes," NBER Working Papers 12103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 2010. "Supply Side Interventions and Redistribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 105-130, 03.
  33. Agell, Jonas & Persson, Mats, 2001. "On the analytics of the dynamic Laffer curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 397-414, October.
  34. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl, 2005. "Dynamic Scoring: A Back-of-the-Envelope Guide," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2057, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  35. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  36. Domeij, David & Klein, Paul, 2005. "Preannounced Optimal Tax Reform," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 150-169, April.
  37. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  38. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Tax reform with useful public expenditures," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  39. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
  40. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  41. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  42. Giannitsarou, Chryssi, 2006. "Supply-side reforms and learning dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 291-309, March.
  43. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  44. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
  45. Lindsey, Lawrence B., 1987. "Individual taxpayer response to tax cuts: 1982-1984 : With implications for the revenue maximizing tax rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 173-206, July.
  46. Kevin J. Lansing, 1998. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model with Public Capital," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(2), pages 337-364, May.
  47. Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Prosperity and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 1-15, May.
  48. Nancy L. Stokey & Sergio Rebelo, 1993. "Growth Effects of Flat-Rate Taxes," NBER Working Papers 4426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Harald Uhlig, 2004. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to a Fall in Total Hours Worked?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 361-371, 04/05.
  50. Edward C. Prescott, 2006. "Nobel Lecture: The Transformation of Macroeconomic Policy and Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 203-235, April.
  51. Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "The transformation of macroeconomic policy and research," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, pages 6-27.
  52. Mendoza, Enrique G & Tesar, Linda L, 1998. "The International Ramifications of Tax Reforms: Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 226-45, March.
  53. Jonsson, Magnus & Klein, Paul, 2003. "Tax distortions in Sweden and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 711-729, August.
  54. Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2008. "Labor Supply: Are the Income and Substitution Effects Both Large or Both Small?," NBER Working Papers 14208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Jonathan Gruber, 2006. "A Tax-Based Estimate of the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 11945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  56. R. Anton Braun & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "The Welfare Enhancing Effects of a Selfish Government in the Presence of Uninsuarable, Idiosyncratic Risk," CARF F-Series CARF-F-074, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  57. Flodén, Martin & Linde, Jesper, 1998. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the U.S. and Sweden: Is there a Role for Government Insurance?," Seminar Papers 654, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  58. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  59. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  60. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  61. Robert Shimer, 2009. "Convergence in Macroeconomics: The Labor Wedge," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 280-97, January.
  62. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  63. Uhlig, Harald & Yanagawa, Noriyuki, 1996. "Increasing the capital income tax may lead to faster growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1521-1540, November.
  64. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bfi:wpaper:2009-005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Toni Shears)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.