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Capital Income Taxation and the Mirrlees Review

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  • Apps, Patricia

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Rees, Ray

    () (University of Munich)

Abstract

The Mirrlees Review of the UK tax system, together with its companion volume of research papers, can be expected to influence future discussions of tax reform. Indeed, this can already be recognised in the Henry Review. As far as income taxation is concerned, the most substantive recommendation of the Mirrlees Review is a move toward a system of consumption or expenditure taxation, by exempting the "normal return" to saving and taxing only "excess returns" on the same tax schedule as labour earnings. This paper argues against this direction of reform on the grounds that it is based on a model of household behaviour over the life cycle that ignores important aspects of reality. We present an alternative model, together with supporting empirical evidence. We go on to argue that, against the background of rising inequality and an aging population, the appropriate direction for reform is towards more progressive taxation of both labour earnings and capital income, although not necessarily under the same rate scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2012. "Capital Income Taxation and the Mirrlees Review," IZA Discussion Papers 6615, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2012. "Optimal Taxation, Child Care and Models of the Household," IZA Discussion Papers 6823, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Gender-Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40, May.
    4. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    5. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284, December.
    6. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
    7. Peter Sørensen, 2005. "Neutral Taxation of Shareholder Income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(6), pages 777-801, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal taxation; labour supply; capital income taxation; family life cycle; time allocation; saving; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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