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On the Distributional Effects of Reducing Capital Taxes (previously: Factor Taxation with Heterogeneous Agents)

We investigate the welfare implications of changing the mix between capital and labor taxes for a model economy in which heterogeneous households face uninsurable labor income risk. The stochastic process for labor earnings we construct is consistent with empirical estimates of earnings risk, and also implies a distribution of asset holdings across households closely resembling that in the United States. We find that a vast majority of households prefers the status quo to eliminating capital taxes. This finding is interesting in light of the fact that this reform would be optimal if we abstracted from heterogeneity and assumed a representative agent. A second finding is that a utilitarian government prefers the current calibrated U.S. capital income tax rate (39.7 percent) to any increase or decrease in the capital tax rate.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~03-03-22.

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Date of creation: 03 Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~03-03-22
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Joines, Douglas H, 1981. "Estimates of Effective Marginal Tax Rates on Factor Incomes," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 191-226, April.
  2. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Chamley, Christophe, 2001. "Capital income taxation, wealth distribution and borrowing constraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 55-69, January.
  4. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1991. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 37, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-75, December.
  7. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 1995. "Supply side interventions and redistribution," Economics Working Papers 115, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  10. Jonathan Heathcote, 2003. "Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-23, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  11. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  12. Attanasio, Orazio P & Browning, Martin, 1995. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1118-37, December.
  13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  14. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  16. repec:fth:inseep:9811 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-94, March.
  18. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
  19. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  20. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  21. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. S. Rao Aiyagari & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1994. "The optimal quantity of debt," Working Papers 538, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. 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.
  24. Christophe Chamley, 1998. "Capital Income Taxation, Wealth Distribution and Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 98-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  25. ColemanII, Wilbur John, 2000. "Welfare and optimum dynamic taxation of consumption and income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-39, April.
  26. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
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