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Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance in a Lifetime Perspective

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  • Lans Bovenberg
  • Peter Birch Sørensen

Abstract

Advances in information technology have improved the administrative feasibility of redistribution based on lifetime earnings recorded at the time of retirement. We study optimal lifetime income taxation and social insurance in an economy in which redistributive taxation and social insurance serve to insure (ex ante against skill heterogeneity as well as disability risk. Optimal disability benefits rise with previous earnings so that public transfers depend not only on current earnings but also on earnings in the past. Hence, lifetime taxation rather than annual taxation is optimal. The optimal tax-transfer system does not provide full disability insurance. By offering imperfect insurance and structuring disability benefits so as to enable workers to insure against disability by working harder, social insurance is designed to offset the distortionary impact of the redistributive labor income tax on labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Lans Bovenberg & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2006. "Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance in a Lifetime Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 1690, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1690
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E. & Yun, Jungyoll, 2005. "Integration of unemployment insurance with retirement insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2037-2067, December.
    2. William Vickrey, 1939. "Averaging of Income for Income-Tax Purposes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47, pages 379-379.
    3. Fölster, Stefan & Gidehag, Robert & Orszag, Mike & Snower, Dennis J., 2002. "Assessing Welfare Accounts," CEPR Discussion Papers 3479, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Taxation, Incomplete Markets, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541823, January.
    5. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
    6. Dixit, Avinash K & Sandmo, Angar, 1977. " Some Simplified Formulae for Optimal Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(4), pages 417-423.
    7. Martin Feldstein & Daniel Altman, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 35-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Folster, Stefan, 1999. "Social Insurance Based on Personal Savings," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(228), pages 5-18, March.
    9. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-264.
    10. Orszag, Mike & Snower, Dennis J., 1997. "Expanding the Welfare System: A Proposal for Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 1674, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. A. Lans Bovenberg & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2004. "Improving the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off: Mandatory Savings Accounts for Social Insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(4), pages 507-529, August.
    12. Mark V. Pauly, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal lifetime income taxation; optimal social insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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