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The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity

  • Daniel R. Carroll
  • Eric R. Young

This paper compares the steady state outcomes of revenue-neutral changes to the progressivity of the tax schedule. Our economy features heterogeneous households who differ in their preferences and permanent labor productivities, but it does not have idiosyncratic risk. We find that increases in the progressivity of the tax schedule are associated with long-run distributions with greater aggregate income, wealth, and labor input. Average hours generally declines as the tax schedule becomes more progressive implying that the economy substitutes away from less productive workers toward more productive workers. Finally, as progressivity increases, income inequality is reduced and wealth inequality rises. Many of these results are qualitatively different than those found in models with idiosyncratic risk, and therefore suggest closer attention should be paid to modeling the insurance opportunities of households.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0913.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0913
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  1. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  2. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "The Stationary Distribution of Wealth under Progressive Taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 469-478, July.
  3. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Progressive Capital Income Taxes in the Infinite Horizon Model," NBER Working Papers 9046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alejandro Badel & Mark Huggett, 2014. "Interpreting Life Cycle Inequality Patterns as an Efficient Allocation: Mission Impossible?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 613-629, October.
  5. Julio Davila & Jay H. Hong & Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2005. "Constrained efficiency in the neoclassical growth model with uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," NBER Working Papers 12880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
  8. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 317-39, June.
  9. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2006. "Flat Tax Reforms In The U.S.: A Boon For The Income Poor," Working Papers wp2006_0611, CEMFI.
  10. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2011. "Public versus private risk sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 920-956, May.
  11. Daniel R. Carroll, 2013. "The demand for income tax progressivity in the growth model," Working Paper 1106, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  12. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 1997. "Progressive taxation and income inequality in dynamic competitive equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 145-171, October.
  13. Ventura, Gustavo, 1999. "Flat tax reform: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 1425-1458, September.
  14. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
  15. Cesaire Meh, 2005. "Entrepreneurship, Wealth Inequality, and Taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 688-719, July.
  16. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2009. "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 393-402, July.
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