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Nonseparable Preferences and Optimal Social Security systems

  • Narayana Kocherlakota

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota)

  • Borys Grochulski

In this paper, we consider economies in which agents are privately informed about their skills, which are evolving stochastically over time. We require agents’ preferences to be weakly separable between the lifetime paths of consumption and labor. However, we allow for intertemporal nonseparabilities in preferences like habit formation. We show that such nonseparabilities imply that optimal asset income taxes are necessarily retrospective in nature. We show that under weak conditions, it is possible to implement a socially optimal allocation using a social security system in which taxes on wealth are linear, and taxes/transfers are history-dependent only at retirement. The average asset income tax in this system is zero.

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File URL: http://www.econ.umn.edu/merr/2007_1.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007-1.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 14 Aug 2007
Date of revision: 14 Aug 2007
Handle: RePEc:min:wpaper:2007-1
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  1. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
  2. Stefania Albanesi & Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Dynamic optimal taxation with private information," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 140, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Grochulski, Borys & Piskorski, Tomasz, 2010. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 908-943, May.
  4. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2003. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 569-587.
  5. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2005. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000450, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Kenneth Rogoff & Michael Woodford, 2009. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number acem08-1, June.
  9. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, 02.
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