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Tax Policy, the Rate of Return, and Savings

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  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

The theoretical and empirical results in this paper make a strong prima facie case for the proposition that increases in the after tax rate of return caused by tax policy are likely to bring forth significant increases in saving. Theoretical analysis using a variety of standard models tends to suggest that the aggregate response to savings incentives is likely to be substantial. It is argued that the existing empirical evidence sheds little light on the question. Empirical analyses are then conducted using three alternative approaches. All three confirm the hypothesis of a significant positive response of savings to changes in the rate of return.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Tax Policy, the Rate of Return, and Savings," NBER Working Papers 0995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0995
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Fatih Guvenen, 2003. "A Parsimonious Macroeconomic Model for Asset Pricing: Habit Formation or Cross-sectional Heterogeneity?," RCER Working Papers 499, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    2. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Capital, Interest, and Aggregate Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 9373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    4. Sung Tai Kim, 1995. "Income taxation vs. consumption taxation in terms of the effect on savings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 89-93, January.
    5. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    6. Isabel Argimón & José Manuel González-Paramo & José María Roldan, 1993. "Ahorro, riqueza y tipos de interés en España," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 17(2), pages 313-332, May.
    7. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 2010. "Consumption and Saving: Models of Intertemporal Allocation and Their Implications for Public Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 693-751, September.
    8. Balassa, Bela, 1989. "The effects of interest rates on savings in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 56, The World Bank.
    9. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
    10. Hausman, Jerry A & Poterba, James M, 1987. "Household Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 101-119, Summer.
    11. Chen, T.N. & Kompas, T. & Vousden, N., 1999. "Incentives and Static and Dynamic Gains from Market Reform in an Emerging Profits Models," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 1999-379, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    12. Altig, David & Davis, Steven J, 1992. "The Timing of Intergenerational Transfers, Tax Policy, and Aggregate Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1199-1220, December.
    13. Buffie, Edward F., 1995. "Public investment, private investment, and inflation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(5-7), pages 1223-1247.
    14. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Consumer Durables and the Real Interest Rate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 353-362, August.
    15. Summers, Lawrence H, 1984. "The After-Tax Rate of Return Affects Private Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 249-253, May.
    16. Jonathan Skinner & Daniel Feenberg, 1990. "The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving," NBER Working Papers 3257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Lee, Taeyol, 1993. "The excess smoothness puzzle in consumption," ISU General Staff Papers 1993010108000011471, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    18. Mankiw, N Gregory & Shapiro, Matthew D, 1986. "Risk and Return: Consumption Beta versus Market Beta," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 452-459, August.
    19. Casey B. Mulligan, 2004. "Robust Aggregate Implications of Stochastic Discount Factor Volatility," NBER Working Papers 10210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1984. "Risk and Return: Consumption versus Market Beta," NBER Working Papers 1399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "Tests for Liquidity Constraints: A Critical Survey," NBER Working Papers 1720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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