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Taxes, Saving, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence

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  • Charles E. McLure, Jr.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to review theoretical analysis and results of empirical research on the effects of taxation on private saving and economic welfare. One basic conclusion of section II is that long-established results of theoretical analysis are often ignored or misunderstood by economists, as well as by policy-makers, and the lessons of more recent theoretical analyses of optimal taxation have been only dimly perceived. This generally inadequate conceptual state of affairs is mirrored in empirical analysis, the subject of section III, where it appears that the few serious scholars working at trying to untangle the effects of taxation on saving and welfare have not always been asking -- or even recognizing -- the "right"questions. But the problems of empirical analysis go beyond those that result from failure to frame the research question carefully. Limitations posed by inadequate data and econometric difficulties make it difficult even to arrive at a satisfactory answer to the wrong question.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles E. McLure, Jr., 1980. "Taxes, Saving, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 0504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0504 Note: PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosen, Harvey S, 1980. "What Is Labor Supply and Do Taxes Affect It?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 171-176, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Mervyn A. King, 1980. "Savings and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David, Paul A & Scadding, John L, 1974. "Private Savings: Ultrarationality, Aggregation, and "Denison's Law."," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 225-249, Part I, M.
    5. 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.
    6. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1983. "Inflation and the Taxation of Capital Income in the Corporate Sector," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 116-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Arnold Harberger, 1964. "Taxation, Resource Allocation, and Welfare," NBER Chapters,in: The Role of Direct and Indirect Taxes in the Federal Reserve System, pages 25-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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. Fischer Black, 1981. "When Is a Positive Income Tax Optimal?," NBER Working Papers 0631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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