IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Optimal Tax Progressivity: An Analytical Framework

  • Heathcote, Jonathan

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

  • Storesletten, Kjetil

    (University of Oslo)

  • Violante, Giovanni L.

    (New York University)

What shapes the optimal degree of progressivity of the tax and transfer system? On the one hand, a progressive tax system can counteract inequality in initial conditions and substitute for imperfect private insurance against idiosyncratic earnings risk. At the same time, progressivity reduces incentives to work and to invest in skills, and aggravates the externality associated with valued public expenditures. We develop a tractable equilibrium model that features all of these trade-offs. The analytical expressions we derive for social welfare deliver a transparent understanding of how preferences, technology, and market structure parameters influence the optimal degree of progressivity. A calibration for the U.S. economy indicates that endogenous skill investment, flexible labor supply, and the externality linked to valued government purchases play quantitatively similar roles in limiting desired progressivity.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/sr/sr496.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 496.

as
in new window

Length: 76 pages
Date of creation: 31 Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:496
Contact details of provider: Postal:
90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291

Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2007. "Does Social Security Privatization Produce Efficiency Gains?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1677-1719.
  2. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  3. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Michael Keane, 2010. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Working Paper Series 160, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  5. Peter A. Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations," CESifo Working Paper Series 3548, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2011. "Public versus private risk sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 920-956, May.
  7. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Dynamic Taxes," NBER Working Papers 17642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," NBER Working Papers 15483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Aspen Gorry & Ezra Oberfield, 2009. "Optimal Taxation Over the Life Cycle," 2009 Meeting Papers 536, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Ozan Bakis & Baris Kaymak, 2012. "On the Optimality of Progressive Income Redistribution," Cahiers de recherche 10-2012, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  11. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  12. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
  13. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  14. Harald Uhlig, 1996. "A law of large numbers for large economies (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(1), pages 41-50.
  15. Emmanuel Farhi, 2013. "Insurance and Taxation over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 596-635.
  16. Persson, Mats, 1983. "The distribution of abilities and the progressive income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 73-88, October.
  17. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  18. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  19. 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.
  20. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  21. Isabel Correia, 2010. "Consumption Taxes and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1673-94, September.
  22. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Utilitarianism and horizontal equity : The case for random taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-33, June.
  23. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  25. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  26. Casey Rothschild & Florian Scheuer, 2013. "Redistributive Taxation in the Roy Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 623-668.
  27. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  28. Feldstein, Martin S, 1969. "The Effects on Taxation on Risk Taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 755-64, Sept./Oct.
  29. Jonathan Eaton & Harvey S. Rosen, 1980. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation and Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 357-364.
  30. Chen, Shu-Hua & Guo, Jang-Ting, 2013. "Progressive taxation and macroeconomic (In) stability with productive government spending," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 951-963.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:496. 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: (Janelle Ruswick)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.