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Risky Taxes, Budget Balance Preserving Spreads and Precautionary Savings

  • Becker, Torbjörn

    (Department of Economics)

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    The paper analyzes the effects on consumption from changes in the riskiness of taxes. It starts by reinterpreting the Sandmo [1970] paper on general capital income risk to the case of risky capital taxation. In his framework the concept of a mean preserving spread (MPS) is used for the risk analysis. In connection with risky taxes it is however possible to explicitly connect the tax risk with the government's budget constraint. In this paper the concept of a budget balance preserving spread (BBPS) is developed and used for the analysis of stochastic taxes. The paper is concluded with a comparison of the effects that a MPS and a BBPS has on consumption decisions. It is shown that the comparative statics results for a BBPS could be different from the results obtained with a MPS.

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    Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 73.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 1995
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0073
    Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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    1. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Machina, Mark J., 1989. "Comparative statics and non-expected utility preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 393-405, April.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1968. "The Effects of Income, Wealth, and Capital Gains Taxation on Risk Taking," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Alm, James, 1988. "Uncertain Tax Policies, Individual Behavior, and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 237-45, March.
    6. Sibley, David S., 1975. "Permanent and transitory income effects in a model of optimal consumption with wage income uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 68-82, August.
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    9. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
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    16. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
    17. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
    18. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-98, May.
    19. Chan, Louis Kuo Chi, 1983. "Uncertainty and the neutrality of government financing policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-372.
    20. Whitmore, G A, 1970. "Third-Degree Stochastic Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 457-59, June.
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    22. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-71, September.
    23. Machina, Mark J., 1984. "Temporal risk and the nature of induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-231, August.
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