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Constrained Inefficiency and Optimal Taxation with Uninsurable Risks

Author

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  • Piero Gottardi
  • Atsushi Kajii
  • Tomoyuki Nakajima

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Piero Gottardi & Atsushi Kajii & Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2010. "Constrained Inefficiency and Optimal Taxation with Uninsurable Risks," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/02, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/02
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    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 147-174, Fall.
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    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, pages 2431-2467.
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    5. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 026212274x, January.
    6. 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.
    7. John K.-H Quah, 2007. "The Comparative Statics of Constrained Optimization Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 401-431, March.
    8. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-1175, December.
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    10. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1982. "The Inefficiency of the Stock Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 241-261.
    11. 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.
    12. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    13. 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.
    14. McGrattan, Ellen R. & Schmitz, James Jr., 1999. "Explaining cross-country income differences," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 669-737 Elsevier.
    15. repec:cor:louvrp:-2463 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jjieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:17-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Piero Gottardi & Atsushi Kajii & Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2015. "Optimal Taxation and Debt with Uninsurable Risks to Human Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 3443-3470.
    3. 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.
    4. Nakajima, Tomoyuki & Takahashi, Shuhei, 2017. "The optimum quantity of debt for Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, pages 17-26.
    5. Sigrid Röhrs & Christoph Winter, 2011. "Wealth inequality and the optimal level of government debt," ECON - Working Papers 051, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Acikgoz, Omer, 2013. "Transitional Dynamics and Long-run Optimal Taxation Under Incomplete Markets," MPRA Paper 50160, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Yena Park, 2014. "Constrained Efficiency in a Risky Human Capital Model," RCER Working Papers 585, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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