IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Optimality of Progressive Income Redistribution

  • Ozan Bakis
  • Baris Kaymak

We compute the optimal non-linear tax policy for a dynastic economy with uninsurable risk, where generations are linked by dynastic wealth accumulation and correlated incomes. Unlike earlier studies, we find that the optimal long-run tax policy is moderately regressive. Regressive taxes lead to higher output and consumption, at the expense of larger after-tax income inequality. Nevertheless, equilibrium effects and the availability of self-insurance via bequests mitigate the impact of regressive taxes on consumption inequality, resulting in improved average welfare overall. We also consider the optimal once-and-for-all change in the tax system, taking into account the transition dynamics. Starting at the U.S. status quo, the optimal tax reform is slightly more progressive than the current system.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 10-2012.

in new window

Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:10-2012
Contact details of provider: Postal:
C.P. 6128, Succ. centre-ville, Montréal (PQ) H3C 3J7

Phone: (514) 343-6557
Fax: (514) 343-7221
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Tom Krebs, 2004. "Welfare Cost of Business Cycles When Markets Are Incomplete," Working Papers 2004-08, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Julio Davila & Jay H. Hong & Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2005. "Constrained efficiency in the neoclassical growth model with uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Seshadri, Ananth & Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2004. "Equity and efficiency effects of redistributive policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1415-1447, October.
  8. Piketty, Thomas & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "How Progessive is the US Federal Tax System? An Historical and International Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5778, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2009. "Public versus Private Risk Sharing," NBER Working Papers 15582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
  11. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  12. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," CEPR Discussion Papers 5929, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Tom Krebs, 2005. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," 2005 Meeting Papers 188, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2007. "Does Social Security Privatization Produce Efficiency Gains?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1677-1719.
  16. Steven J. Haider, 2000. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Working Papers 00-15, RAND Corporation.
  17. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  18. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "How Progressive is the U.S. Federal Tax System? A Historical and International Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  19. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  20. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2007. "Optimal Taxation with Endogenous Insurance Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 487-534.
  21. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  22. Erosa, Andres & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2007. "Progressive taxation in a dynastic model of human capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 667-685, April.
  23. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:10-2012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sharon BREWER)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.