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Capital Taxation under Political Constraints

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  • Scheuer, Florian
  • Wolitzky, Alexander

Abstract

This paper studies optimal dynamic tax policy under the threat of political reform. A policy will be reformed ex post if a large enough political coalition supports reform; thus, sustainable policies are those that will continue to attract enough political support in the future. We find that optimal marginal capital taxes are either progressive or U-shaped, so that savings are subsidized for the poor and/or the middle class but are taxed for the rich. U-shaped capital taxes always emerge when the salient reform threat consists of radically redistributing capital and individuals' political behavior is purely determined by economic motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Scheuer, Florian & Wolitzky, Alexander, 2015. "Capital Taxation under Political Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 10418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10418
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    Cited by:

    1. Jang-Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2018. "Changing social preferences and optimal redistributive taxation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 73-92.
    2. Golosov, M. & Tsyvinski, A. & Werquin, N., 2016. "Recursive Contracts and Endogenously Incomplete Markets," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 725-841, Elsevier.
    3. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2018. "Tax reform and the political economy of the tax base," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 197-210.
    4. Fidel Perez-Sebastian & Ohad Raveh, 2016. "Federal Tax Policies, Congressional Voting, and the Fiscal Advantage of Natural Resources," OxCarre Working Papers 182, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2019. "Optimal nonlinear taxation of income and savings without commitment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 21(1), pages 5-43, February.
    6. Haucap, Justus, 2017. "The rule of law and the emergence of market exchange: A new institutional economic perspective," DICE Discussion Papers 276, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    7. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2021. "Taxing Our Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 207-230, Winter.
    8. Florian Scheuer & Alexander Wolitzky, 2016. "Capital Taxation under Political Constraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(8), pages 2304-2328, August.
    9. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "How Should Capital Be Taxed?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 812-846, September.
    10. Chirvi, Malte & Schneider, Cornelius, 2019. "Stated preferences for capital taxation - tax design, misinformation and the role of partisanship," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 242, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    11. Michael J. Boskin & Diego J. Perez & Daniel S. Bennett, 2019. "The Political Economy of Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 25985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Darong Dai, 2020. "Voting over selfishly optimal tax schedules: Can Pigouvian tax redistribute income?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1660-1686, September.
    13. Gerardi, Dino, 2018. "Dynamic Contracting with Limited Commitment and the Ratchet Effect," CEPR Discussion Papers 12699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coalition Formation; Inequality; Tax Reforms; Wealth Taxation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems

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