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Optimal linear taxation under endogenous longevity

  • LEROUX, Marie-Louise
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre
  • PONTHIERE, Grégory

This paper studies the optimal linear tax-transfer policy in an economy where agents differ in productivity and in genetic background, and where longevity depends on health spending and genes. It is shown that, if agents internalize imperfectly the impact of genes and health spending on longevity, the utilitarian social optimum can be decentralized with type-specific redistributive lump sum transfers and Pigouvian taxes correcting for agents's myopia (leading to undersaving and underinvestment in health), and for their incapacity to perceive the effect of health spending on the resource constraint of the economy (causing overinvestment in health). The second-best problem is also examined under linear taxation instruments. Our main result is that it may be optimal to tax health spending, in particular under a complementarity of genes and health spending in the production of longevity.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00148-010-0304-1
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2268.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2268
Note: In : Journal of Population Economics, 24(1), 213-237, 2011
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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & DE DONDER, Philippe & MALDONADO, Dario & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2008. "Taxing sin goods and subsidizing health care," CORE Discussion Papers 2008031, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. PESTIEAU, Pierre & PONTHIERE, Grégory & SATO, Motohiro, . "Longevity, health spending, and pay-as-you-go pensions," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Jie Zhang & Junsen Zhang & Michael Leung, 2006. "Health investment, saving, and public policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 68-93, February.
  4. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  5. Torben Andersen & Joydeep Bhattacharya, 2008. "On Myopia as Rationale for Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 2401, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Broome, John, 2004. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243761, March.
  7. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2010. "Collective Annuities and Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 23-41, 02.
  8. EECKHOUDT, Louis & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2007. "Fear of ruin and longevity enhancing investment," CORE Discussion Papers 2007032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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