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A Wealth Tax on the Rich to Bring down Public Debt?: Revenue and Distributional Effects of a Capital Levy

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  • Stefan Bach
  • Martin Beznoska
  • Viktor Steiner

Abstract

The idea of higher wealth taxes to finance the mounting public debt in the wake of the financial crises is gaining ground in several OECD countries. We evaluate the revenue and distributional effects of a one-time capital levy on personal net wealth that is currently on the German political agenda. We use survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and estimate the net wealth distribution at the very top, based on publicly available information about very rich Germans. Since net wealth is strongly concentrated, the capital levy could raise substantial revenue, even if relatively high personal allowances are granted. We also analyze the compliance and administrative costs of the capital levy.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bach & Martin Beznoska & Viktor Steiner, 2011. "A Wealth Tax on the Rich to Bring down Public Debt?: Revenue and Distributional Effects of a Capital Levy," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 397, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp397
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898, Decembrie.
    2. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Top Incomes : A Global Perspective," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00754875, HAL.
    3. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2015. "Public Debt and Growth," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 705-739, October.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-578, May.
    5. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    6. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    7. Klass, Oren S. & Biham, Ofer & Levy, Moshe & Malcai, Ofer & Solomon, Sorin, 2006. "The Forbes 400 and the Pareto wealth distribution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 290-295, February.
    8. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881, Decembrie.
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    1. The Bundesbank Explains Its Grinder Policies
      by masaccio in Firedoglake on 2012-04-29 22:30:06

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Corneo, Giacomo G. & Bönke, Timm & Westermeier, Christian, 2016. "Erbschaft und Eigenleistung im Vermögen der Deutschen: eine Verteilungsanalyse," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 35-53.
    2. Paul Eckerstorfer & Johannes Halak & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz & Florian Springholz & Rafael Wildauer, 2014. "Correcting wealth survey data for the missing rich: The case of Austria," Economics working papers 2014-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    3. Jan Schulz & Mishael Milaković, 2023. "How Wealthy are the Rich?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 69(1), pages 100-123, March.
    4. Kohler, Pierre, 2014. "Asset-Centred Redistributive Policies for Sustainable Development," MPRA Paper 55357, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Stefan Bach, 2014. ""Reichensteuer"-Diskussion: Hintergrund und Perspektiven," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 16, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Paul Eckerstorfer & Johannes Halak & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz & Florian Springholz & Rafael Wildauer, 2016. "Correcting for the Missing Rich: An Application to Wealth Survey Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(4), pages 605-627, December.
    7. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "The economics of taxing net wealth: A survey of the issues," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 12/5, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    8. Kempkes, Gerhard & Stähler, Nikolai, 2014. "A one-off wealth levy? Assessing the pros, the cons and the importance of credibility," Discussion Papers 29/2014, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    9. Davide Bazzana, 2020. "Ageing population and pension system sustainability: reforms and redistributive implications," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 37(3), pages 971-992, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital levy; wealth distribution; microsimulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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