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The demand for income tax progressivity in the growth model

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  • Daniel R. Carroll

Abstract

This paper examines the degree of income tax progressivity chosen through a simple majority vote in a model with savings. Households have permanent differences with respect to their labor productivity and their discount factors. The government has limited commitment to future policy, so voting is repeated every period. Because the model features mobility within the wealth distribution, the median voter is determined endogenously. In a numerical experiment, the model is initialized to the 1992 U.S. joint distribution of income and wealth as well as several statistics of the federal income tax distribution. Support for a high degree of progressivity is widespread. In the long run, households that vote for lower progressivity have high labor productivity and/or very high wealth. A movement towards greater progressivity increases aggregate capital and income, but it effects only a small decrease in long-run income and wealth inequality.

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  • Daniel R. Carroll, 2013. "The demand for income tax progressivity in the growth model," Working Paper 1106, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1995. "Popular support for progressive taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 319-324, June.
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    3. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Per Krusell, 2006. "Median-voter Equilibria in the Neoclassical Growth Model under Aggregation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 587-606, December.
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    6. 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.
    7. James Dolmas, 2008. "What do majority-voting politics say about redistributive taxation of consumption and factor income? Not much," Working Papers 0814, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    8. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    9. Carroll, Daniel R. & Young, Eric R., 2011. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1451-1473, September.
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    12. Carbonell-Nicolau Oriol, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Income Taxation," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-49, July.
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    19. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    20. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carroll, Daniel R. & Young, Eric R., 2011. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1451-1473, September.
    2. Carroll, Daniel R. & Dolmas, James & Young, Eric R., 2015. "Majority Voting: A Quantitative Investigation," Working Paper 1442, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "A note on sunspots with heterogeneous agents," Working Paper 0906, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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    Keywords

    Income tax ; Taxation ; Income distribution ; Wealth;

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