IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An extensive look at taxes: how does endogenous retirement affect optimal taxation?


  • William B. Peterman


This paper considers the impact on optimal tax policy of including endogenously determined retirement in a life cycle model. Allowing individuals to determine when they retire causes the optimal tax on capital to increase by 75% because of two implicit changes in the aggregate labor supply elasticity. First, including endogenous retirement causes an increase in the overall aggregate labor supply elasticity since agents can change their labor supply on both the intensive and extensive margins. In response, the government limits the distortions from the tax policy by lowering the tax on labor and increases the tax on capital. Second, given that the choice to retire is more relevant for older individuals, endogenous retirement disproportionately increases older agent's elasticity compared to younger individuals. Ideally, the government would decrease the relative labor income tax on individuals when they are older and supply labor more elastically. However, in the absence of age-dependent taxes, the government mimics such a tax policy by further increasing the tax on capital. I find that the welfare lost from not accounting for endogenous retirement when solving for the optimal tax policy is equivalent to approximately one percent of lifetime consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • William B. Peterman, 2012. "An extensive look at taxes: how does endogenous retirement affect optimal taxation?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-28

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
    2. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    3. Bas Jacobs & A. Bovenberg, 2010. "Human capital and optimal positive taxation of capital income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(5), pages 451-478, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
    6. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2013. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-56.
    7. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
    8. Peterman, William B., 2013. "Determining the motives for a positive optimal tax on capital," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 265-295.
    9. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, May.
    10. Carlos Garriga-Calvet, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1772, Econometric Society.
    11. Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Optimal capital income taxation with housing," Working Papers 10-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    12. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2016. "Towards a Micro-Founded Theory of Aggregate Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1001-1039.
    13. Riccardo Fiorito & Giulio Zanella, "undated". "Labor Supply Elasticities: Can Micro be Misleading for Macro?," Working Papers 4, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Peterman, William B. & Sommer, Kamila, 2014. "How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Kamila Sommer & William Peterman, 2013. "How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?," 2013 Meeting Papers 1150, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.