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Constrained Inefficiency and Optimal Taxation with Uninsurable Risks

  • Piero Gottardi
  • Atsushi Kajii
  • Tomoyuki Nakajima

Should capital and labor be taxed, and if so how when individuals' labor and capital income are subject to uninsurable idiosyncratic risks? In a two period general equilibrium model with production, we first show that reducing investment is welfare improving if households are homogeneous enough ex ante. On the other hand, when the degree of heterogeneity is sufficientlyhigh a welfare improvement is achieved by increasing investment, even if the investment level is already higher than at the e¢ cient allocation obtained when full insurance markets were available. Consequently, the optimal capital tax rate might be negative. We derive a decomposition formula of the e¤ects of the tax which allow us to determine how the sign of optimal tax on capital and labor depends both on the nature of the shocks and the degree of heterogeneity among consumers as well as on the way in which the tax revenue is allocated.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2010/02.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/02
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  1. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  2. John K.-H Quah, 2007. "The Comparative Statics of Constrained Optimization Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 401-431, 03.
  3. Julio Dávila & Jay H. Hong & Per Krusell & José‐Víctor Ríos‐Rull, 2012. "Constrained Efficiency in the Neoclassical Growth Model With Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2431-2467, November.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew C. Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-140, Harvard Business School.
  5. George-Marios Angeletos, 2007. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Investment Risk and Aggregate Saving," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 1-30, January.
  6. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00196183 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Piero Gottardi & Atsushi Kajii & Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2010. "Optimal taxation and constrained inefficiency in an infinite-horizon economy with incomplete markets," KIER Working Papers 745, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
  9. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 026212274x, June.
  11. Atsushi Kajii & Antonio Villanacci & Alessandro Citanna, 1998. "Constrained suboptimality in incomplete markets: a general approach and two applications," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 495-521.
  12. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1982. "The Inefficiency of the Stock Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 241-61, April.
  13. Hart, Oliver D., 1975. "On the optimality of equilibrium when the market structure is incomplete," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 418-443, December.
  14. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
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