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Optimal Taxation in a Habit Formation Economy

  • Sebastian Koehne
  • Moritz Kuhn

We study implications of habit formation for optimal taxation. First, we show that taxation problems with habit formation can be analyzed using dynamic programming techniques. Second, we derive optimal labor and savings wedges for habit formation preferences. We show that habit formation counteracts the conventional Mirrleesian distortions and calls for subsidies to labor supply and savings. We demonstrate that the theoretical results are quantitatively important: in a stylized life-cycle model, average labor and savings wedges fall by more than one third compared to time-separable references. Third, we exploit the analogy between habit formation and durable consumption to study the taxation of durable and nondurable commodities.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4581.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4581
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  1. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Dynamic optimal taxation with private information," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 140, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. P. A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1977. "A Model of Social Insurance With Variable Retirement," Working papers 210, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Ivan Werning & Emmanuel Farhi, 2010. "Insurance and Taxation over the Life Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 909, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. CREMER, Helmuth & DE DONDER, Philippe & MALDONADO, Dario & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Commodity taxation under habit formation and myopia," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2244, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
  7. Grochulski, Borys & Piskorski, Tomasz, 2010. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 908-943, May.
  8. Marek Kapicka & Radim Bohacek, 2007. "Optimal Human Capital Policies," 2007 Meeting Papers 464, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Diaz, Antonia & Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2003. "Precautionary savings and wealth distribution under habit formation preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1257-1291, September.
  10. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2004. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," NBER Working Papers 10792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Abel, A.B., 1990. "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation And Catching Up With The Joneses," Weiss Center Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  14. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty and optimal taxation: In defense of commodity taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 291-310, February.
  15. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Dynamic Taxes," NBER Working Papers 17642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Borys Grochulski & Narayana Kocherlakota, 2007. "Nonseparable Preferences and Optimal Social Security Systems," NBER Working Papers 13362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Abraham, Arpad & Koehne, Sebastian & Pavoni, Nicola, 2012. "Optimal income taxation with asset accumulation," MPRA Paper 38629, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2008. "Optimal Savings Distortions with Recursive Preferences," NBER Working Papers 13720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2011. "Myopia, redistribution and pensions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 165-175, February.
  21. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
  22. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  23. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  24. Johnsen, Thore H & Donaldson, John B, 1985. "The Structure of Intertemporal Preferences under Uncertainty and Time Consistent Plans," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1451-58, November.
  25. repec:oup:restud:v:58:y:1991:i:5:p:853-81 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
  27. Feldstein, Martin, 1973. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-376.
  28. Heien, Dale & Durham, Cathy, 1991. "A Test of the Habit Formation Hypothesis Using Household Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 189-99, May.
  29. Messinis, G., 1998. "Habit Formation and the Theory of Addiction," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 635, The University of Melbourne.
  30. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
  31. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
  32. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  33. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
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  35. repec:oup:restud:v:38:y:1971:i:114:p:175-208 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. Marek Kapicka, 2013. "Efficient Allocations in Dynamic Private Information Economies with Persistent Shocks: A First-Order Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1027-1054.
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