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Taxes and Pensions

  • Peter Diamond

Pension benefit rules depend on individual history far more than taxes do, and age plays a much larger role in pension determination than in tax determination. Apart from some simulation studies, theoretical studies of optimal tax design typically contain neither a mandatory pension system nor the behavioral dimensions that lie behind justifications commonly offered for mandatory pensions. Conversely, optimizing models of pension design typically do not include annual taxation of labor and capital incomes. After spelling out this contrast and reviewing (and rejecting) zero taxation of capital income based on the Atkinson-Stiglitz and Chamley-Judd results, this article raises the issue of tax-favored retirement savings, a topic where the two subjects come together.

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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2009-12.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision: May 2009
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2009-12
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  1. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1997. "Redistribution with unobservable bequests: a case for taxing capital income," CORE Discussion Papers 1997070, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  3. Gervais, Martin, 2009. "On the optimality of age-dependent taxes and the progressive U.S. tax system," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0905, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
  5. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
  6. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2003. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
  9. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Peter A.Diamond, 1973. "Inflation and the Comprehensive Tax Base," Working papers 98, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Konishi, Hideo, 1995. "A Pareto-improving commodity tax reform under a smooth nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 413-446, March.
  14. Jukka Pirttilä & Håkan Selin, 2006. "How Successful is the Dual Income Tax? Evidence from the Finnish Tax Reform of 1993," CESifo Working Paper Series 1875, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Laroque, Guy R., 2005. "Indirect taxation is superfluous under separability and taste homogeneity: a simple proof," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 141-144, April.
  16. Peter Diamond & Johannes Spinnewijn, 2009. "Capital Income Taxes With Heterogeneous Discount Rates," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-14, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2009.
  17. Blomquist, Sören & Micheletto, Luca, 2003. "Age Related Optimal Income Taxation," Working Paper Series 2003:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  18. Correia, Isabel H., 1996. "Should capital income be taxed in the steady state?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 147-151, April.
  19. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 167-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
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  25. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  26. 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.
  27. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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  31. repec:oup:restud:v:78:y::i:4:p:1490-1518 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Chamley, Christophe, 2001. "Capital income taxation, wealth distribution and borrowing constraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 55-69, January.
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