IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgfe/2015-117.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taxing Capital? The Importance of How Human Capital is Accumulated

Author

Listed:
  • William B. Peterman

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of how human capital is accumulated on optimal capital tax policy in a life cycle model. In particular, it compares the optimal capital tax when human capital is accumulated exogenously, endogenously through learning-by-doing, and endogenously through learning-or-doing. Previous work demonstrates that in a simple two generation life cycle model with exogenous human capital accumulation, if the utility function is separable and homothetic in each consumption and labor, then the government has no motive to condition taxes on age or tax capital. In contrast, this paper demonstrates analytically that adding either form of endogenous human capital accumulation creates a motive for the government to use age-dependent labor income taxes. Moreover, if the government cannot condition taxes on age, then a capital tax can be optimal in order to mimic such taxes. This paper quantitatively explores the strength of this channel and finds that, including human capital accumulation with learning-by-doing, as opposed to exogenously, causes the optimal capital tax to increase by between 7.3 and 14.5 percentage points. In contrast, introducing learning-or-doing causes a much smaller increase in the optimal capital tax of between 0.7 and 3.7 percentage points. Taken as a whole, this paper finds that the specific formulation by which human capital is accumulated can have notable implications on the optimal capital tax.

Suggested Citation

  • William B. Peterman, 2015. "Taxing Capital? The Importance of How Human Capital is Accumulated," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-117, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2015-117
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2015.117
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2015/files/2015117pap.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.117
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fehr, Hans & Kindermann, Fabian, 2015. "Taxing capital along the transition—Not a bad idea after all?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 64-77.
    2. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Ricardo Cossa, 2002. "Learning-By-Doing Vs. On-the-Job Training: Using Variation Induced by the EITC to Distinguish Between Models of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 9083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2004. "The Effect of Part-Time Work on Wages: Evidence from the Social Security Rules," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 329-352, April.
    4. Carlos E. da Costa & Marcelo R. Santos, 2018. "Age†Dependent Taxes With Endogenous Human Capital Formation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 785-823, May.
    5. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Serdar Ozkan, 2014. "Taxation of Human Capital and Wage Inequality: A Cross-Country Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 818-850.
    6. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    7. 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.
    8. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
    9. Carlos da Costa, 2015. "Age-dependent taxes with endogenous human capital formation," 2015 Meeting Papers 824, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, May.
    11. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    12. Marek Kapicka, 2006. "Optimal Income Taxation with Human Capital Accumulation and Limited Record Keeping," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 612-639, October.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    16. Serdar Ozkan & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "Taxation of Human Capital and Cross-Country Trends in Wage Inequality," 2009 Meeting Papers 1170, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Gervais, Martin, 2012. "On the optimality of age-dependent taxes and the progressive U.S. tax system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 682-691.
    18. Carlos Garriga, 2019. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Public Finance Review, , vol. 47(1), pages 3-31, January.
    19. Correia, Isabel H., 1996. "Should capital income be taxed in the steady state?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 147-151, April.
    20. 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.
    21. William Peterman, 2016. "The effect of endogenous human capital accumulation on optimal taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 46-71, July.
    22. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Itay Saporta-Eksten, 2016. "Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 387-435, February.
    23. Contreras, Juan & Sinclair, Sven, 2008. "Labor supply response in macroeconomic models: Assessing the empirical validity of the intertemporal labor supply response from a stochastic overlapping generations model with incomplete markets," MPRA Paper 10533, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-2954, December.
    25. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    26. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(2), pages 317-339, June.
    27. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587.
    28. Yongsung Chang & Joao F. Gomes & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Learning-by-Doing as a Propagation Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1498-1520, December.
    29. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2017. "Optimal Taxation and Human Capital Policies over the Life Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(6), pages 1931-1990.
    30. 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.
    31. Hansen, Gary D. & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "Business cycle fluctuations and the life cycle: How important is on-the-job skill accumulation?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2293-2309, November.
    32. William B. Peterman, 2016. "Reconciling Micro And Macro Estimates Of The Frisch Labor Supply Elasticity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 100-120, January.
    33. Marios Karabarbounis, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Labor Supply Elasticity and Optimal Taxation," 2012 Meeting Papers 655, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    34. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    35. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    36. Luigi Pistaferri, 2003. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 729-754, July.
    37. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2017. "Reducing government debt in the presence of inequality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-20.
    38. William B. Peterman & Erick Sager, 2018. "Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-028, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    39. Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2006. "Training and Lifetime Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 832-846, June.
    40. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    41. Judd, Kenneth L., 1999. "Optimal taxation and spending in general competitive growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-26, January.
    42. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    43. Michael Kuklik & Nikita Cespedes, 2013. "Optimal Taxation and Life Cycle Labor Supply Profile," Documentos de Trabajo / Working Papers 2013-352, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
    44. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    45. Johanna Wallenius, 2011. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution of Labor: How Large is the Bias?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 577-591, October.
    46. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
    47. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "Learning and (or) Doing: Human Capital Investments and Optimal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 21381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    48. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
    49. Hung-Ju Chen & Been-Lon Chen & Ping Wang, 2010. "Taxing Capital is Not a Bad Idea Indeed: The Role of Human Capital and Labor-Market Frictions," 2010 Meeting Papers 827, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    50. Marios Karabarbounis, 2016. "A Road Map for Efficiently Taxing Heterogeneous Agents," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 182-214, April.
    51. Catarina Reis, 2020. "Optimal taxation with unobservable investment in human capital," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 501-516.
    52. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E. & Rossi, Peter E., 1997. "On the Optimal Taxation of Capital Income," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 93-117, March.
    53. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 176-215, June.
    54. Blandin, Adam, 2018. "Learning by Doing and Ben-Porath: Life-cycle Predictions and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 220-235.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Blandin, Adam, 2018. "Learning by Doing and Ben-Porath: Life-cycle Predictions and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 220-235.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. William Peterman, 2016. "The effect of endogenous human capital accumulation on optimal taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 46-71, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Chen, Been-Lon & Lu, Chia-Hui, 2013. "Optimal factor tax incidence in two-sector human capital-based models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 75-94.
    4. Woodland, A., 2016. "Taxation, Pensions, and Demographic Change," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 713-780, Elsevier.
    5. Kitao, Sagiri, 2010. "Short-run fiscal policy: Welfare, redistribution and aggregate effects in the short and long-run," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2109-2125, October.
    6. Cagri S. Kumru & John Piggott, 2017. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Means-tested Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(3), pages 227-262, July.
    7. Blandin, Adam, 2018. "Learning by Doing and Ben-Porath: Life-cycle Predictions and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 220-235.
    8. Kitao, Sagiri, 2010. "Labor-dependent capital income taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 959-974, November.
    9. Stefania Albanesi & Roc Armenter, 2012. "Intertemporal Distortions in the Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1271-1307.
    10. 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.
    11. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2016. "On the optimal provision of social insurance: Progressive taxation versus education subsidies in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 72-98.
    12. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200622 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2017. "Redistribution and insurance with simple tax instruments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 58-78.
    14. Sagiri Kitao, 2010. "Labor-dependent Capital Income Taxation That Encourages Work and Saving," 2010 Meeting Papers 271, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200621 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Long Xin & Pelloni Alessandra, 2011. "Welfare improving taxation on savings in a growth model," wp.comunite 0091, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    17. Alejandro Badel & Mark Huggett & Wenlan Luo, 2020. "Taxing Top Earners: a Human Capital Perspective," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(629), pages 1200-1225.
    18. Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Public Insurance against Idiosyncratic and Aggregate Risk: The Case of Social Security and Progressive Income Taxation," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 587-620, December.
    19. Christian Bredemeier & Jan Gravert & Falko Juessen, 2019. "Estimating Labor Supply Elasticities with Joint Borrowing Constraints of Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 1215-1265.
    20. Abdoulaye Ndiaye, 2017. "Flexible Retirement and Optimal Taxation," Working Paper Series WP-2018-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    21. Michael Ben-Gad, 2017. "The Optimal Taxation Of Asset Income When Government Consumption Is Endogenous: Theory, Estimation And Welfare," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1689-1711, October.
    22. Chia-Hui Lu & Been-Lon Chen, 2015. "Optimal Capital Taxation in a Neoclassical Growth Model," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(2), pages 257-269, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Taxation; Capital Taxation; Human Capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:2015-117. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    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.