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Nonseparable Preferences and Optimal Social Security Systems

  • Narayana Kocherlakota
  • Borys Grochulski

In this paper, we consider economies in which agents are privately informed about their skills, which are evolving stochastically over time. We require agents’ preferences to be weakly separable between the lifetime paths of consumption and labor. However, we allow for intertemporal nonseparabilities in preferences like habit formation. We show that such nonseparabilities imply that optimal asset income taxes are necessarily retrospective in nature. We show that under weak conditions, it is possible to implement a socially optimal allocation using a social security system in which taxes on wealth are linear, and taxes/transfers are history-dependent only at retirement. The average asset income tax in this system is zero.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 843644000000000156.

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Date of creation: 22 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:843644000000000156
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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587, 07.
  2. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2003. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2005. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000450, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Albanesi, Stefania & Sleet, Christopher, 2003. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Borys Grochulski & Tomasz Piskorski, 2007. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Working Paper 06-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. 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.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Kenneth Rogoff & Michael Woodford, 2009. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number acem08-1.
  8. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, 02.
  9. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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