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Automation and inequality with taxes and transfers

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  • Rod Tyers
  • Yixiao Zhou

Abstract

The dependence of real income and inequality on changes in factor abundance, total factor productivity, factor bias, the relative cost of capital goods and the progressivity of the tax system are quantified using an elemental general equilibrium model with three households. Observed declines in low-skill labour shares are shown to have been generic in the OECD and to have been responsible for most of the increase in US inequality between 1990 and 2016. The widely anticipated future twist away from low-skill labour toward capital is then examined, in combination with expected changes in population and its skill composition. With downward rigidity of low-skill wages the potential is identified for unemployment to rise to extraordinarily high levels. Productivity growth at twice the pace since 1990 is shown to limit this, though it does not slow the concentration of income. The superior policy response is shown to be a generalization of the US “earned income tax credit” system, with financing from taxes on consumption, rather than capital income.

Suggested Citation

  • Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2017. "Automation and inequality with taxes and transfers," CAMA Working Papers 2017-70, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2017-70
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    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2017-11/70_2017_tyers_zhou_0.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vipin Arora & Rod Tyers & Ying Zhang, 2014. "Reconstructing the Savings Glut: The Global Implications of Asian Excess Saving," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 14-24, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    3. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    4. Autor, David & Dorn, David & Katz, Lawrence F. & Patterson, Christina & Van Reenen, John, 2017. "The fall of the Labor share and the rise of superstar firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83616, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Grace Taylor & Rod Tyers, 2017. "Secular Stagnation: Determinants and Consequences for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(303), pages 615-650, December.
    2. Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2018. "Automation, taxes and transfers with International rivalry," CAMA Working Papers 2018-44, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    3. Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2018. "Lost Inflation?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 18-01, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    4. Zhou, Yixiao & Tyers, Rod, 2019. "Automation and inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    5. Yixiao ZHOU & Rod TYERS, 2019. "Implications of Automation for Global Migration," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 19-19, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    6. Geoff Weir, 2018. "Wage Growth Puzzles and Technology," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2018-10, Reserve Bank of Australia.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; income distribution; tax; transfers; general equilibrium analysis.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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