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Optimal Life-cycle Capital Taxation under Self-Control Problems

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  • Nicola Pavoni
  • Hakki Yazici

Abstract

We study optimal taxation of savings in an economy where agents face self-control problems and are allowed to be partially naive. We assume that the severity of self-control problems changes over the life-cycle. We focus on quasihyperbolic discounting with constant elasticity of intertemporal substitution utility functions and linear Markov equilibria. We derive explicit formulas for optimal taxes that implement the efficient allocation. We show that if agents’ ability to self-control increases concavely with age, then savings should be subsidized and the subsidy should decrease with age. We also show that allowing for age-dependent self-control problems creates large effects on the level of optimal subsidies, while optimal taxes are not very sensitive to the level of sophistication. JEL classification: E21, E62, D03. Keywords: Self-control problems, Linear Markov equilibrium, Life cycle taxation of savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Pavoni & Hakki Yazici, 2012. "Optimal Life-cycle Capital Taxation under Self-Control Problems," Working Papers 467, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:467
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.unibocconi.it/wp/2012/467.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    2. R. A. Pollak, 1968. "Consistent Planning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 201-208.
    3. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2007. "Measuring Self-Control Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 966-972, June.
    4. Krusell, Per & Kuruscu, Burhanettin & Smith, Anthony Jr., 2002. "Equilibrium Welfare and Government Policy with Quasi-geometric Discounting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 42-72, July.
    5. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 103-124.
    6. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    7. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2005. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000643, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    9. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
    10. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. When kids are impatient: subsidize their savings
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-02-04 21:37:00

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y:2017:i:3:p:1264-1305. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nicola Pavoni & Hakki Yazici, 2017. "Intergenerational Disagreement and Optimal Taxation of Parental Transfers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 1264-1305.
    3. Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2016. "A life-cycle model with ambiguous survival beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 137-180.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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