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Savings and Taxation


  • Mervyn A. King


In section 1.2 we shall examine the optimal taxation of capital and labor incomes in a simple growth model and derive formulae for the optimal tax rates. These are used in section 1.3 to evaluate claims that abolishing capital income taxes would lead to large welfare gains. Inflation is introduced in section 1.4, and alternative approaches to modeling savings behavior are discussed in section 1.5. Finally, we shall look briefly at some of the empirical evidence on the effects of taxes on savings. Our analysis will be highly simplified. We shall ignore many of the issues stressed by the Meade Committee, such as the complex interaction between personal and corporate taxation, the sheer diversity of tax rates currently imposed on different forms of saving, and the portfolio aspects of personal saving. The relationship between expenditure on durables and saving and the effect of social security on consumption will also be left to one side, and we shall say little about the production side of the economy. (For surveys of the effects of taxes on investment, see Helliwell, 1976; King, 1977; and von Furstenberg and Malkiel, 1977.) Despite these omissions the model captures the essential features necessary to an evaluation of the efficiency arguments.

Suggested Citation

  • Mervyn A. King, 1980. "Savings and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0428
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Wesson, 1972. "On the Distribution of Personal Incomes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 77-86.
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    3. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    4. Berndt, Ernst R & Darrough, Masako N & Diewert, W E, 1977. "Flexible Functional Forms and Expenditure Distributions: An Application to Canadian Consumer Demand Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(3), pages 651-675, October.
    5. Boskin, Michael J, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 3-27, April.
    6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1970. "Inflation, Specification Bias, and the Impact of Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 1325-1339, Nov.-Dec..
    7. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Rate of Return, Taxation and Personal Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(351), pages 482-487, September.
    8. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "A model of social security and retirement decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 337-360, December.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Ordover, Janusz A. & Phelps, Edmund S., 1979. "On the Concept of Optimal Taxation in an Overlapping-Generations Model of Efficient Growth," Working Papers 79-09, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    13. Ordover, J. A. & Phelps, E. S., 1979. "The concept of optimal taxation in the overlapping-generations model of capital and wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-26, August.
    14. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    15. von Furstenberg, George M & Malkiel, Burton G, 1977. "The Government and Capital Formation: A Survey of Recent Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 835-878, September.
    16. Michael J. Boskin, 1978. "Taxation, Saving, and the Rate of Interest," NBER Chapters,in: Research in Taxation, pages 3-27 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Saez, Emmanuel, 2013. "Optimal progressive capital income taxes in the infinite horizon model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 61-74.
    2. Mervyn A. King, 1983. "The Economics of Saving," NBER Working Papers 1247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Charles E. McLure, Jr., 1980. "Taxes, Saving, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 0504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Boadway, Robin, 2005. "Income tax reform for a globalized world: The case for a dual income tax," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 910-927, December.
    5. Fischer Black, 1981. "When Is a Positive Income Tax Optimal?," NBER Working Papers 0631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lansing, Kevin J., 1999. "Optimal redistributive capital taxation in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 423-453, September.
    7. Akira Yakita, 2008. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation in an Overlapping-Generations Setting with Money as an Asset," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 19-32, March.
    8. Seidman, Laurence S. & Lewis, Kenneth A., 1998. "Conversion to a Consumption Tax in a Growth Model with Heterogeneity," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 665-680, October.

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