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Flat Tax Reforms: Investment Expensing and Progressivity

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Abstract

In this article we quantify the aggregate, distributional and welfare consequences of investment expensing and progressivity in flat-tax reforms of the United Sates economy. We find that investment expensing as in the Hall and Rabushka type of reform brings about sizable output gains and non-trivial increase in after-tax income inequality. But we also find that it results in large aggregate welfare gains in steadystate. Two additional flat-tax reforms with full investment expensing and varying degrees of progressivity reveal that the distributional role of the tax-exemption in the labor income tax is limited. But we also find that the progressivity of the reforms matters for welfare: economies with more progressive consumption-based flat-taxes are good for the very poor and are ultimately preferred by a Benthamite social planner because they allow households to do more consumption and leisure smoothing. Our findings suggest that moving towards a progressive consumption-based flat tax scheme could achieve the goals of raising government income, stimulating the economy and providing a safety net for the households that have been hit the hardest by the recession.

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  • Javier Díaz-Giménez & Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2011. "Flat Tax Reforms: Investment Expensing and Progressivity," Working Papers wp2011_1101, CEMFI.
  • Handle: RePEc:cmf:wpaper:wp2011_1101
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Kirkby, 2017. "Convergence of Discretized Value Function Iteration," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 49(1), pages 117-153, January.
    2. Josef Schroth, 2016. "Financial Crisis Interventions," Staff Working Papers 16-29, Bank of Canada.
    3. Brüggemann, Bettina & Yoo, Jinhyuk, 2015. "Aggregate and distributional effects of increasing taxes on top income earners," IMFS Working Paper Series 94, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).

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    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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