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Optimal Taxation When Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels of Consumption

  • Andrew B. Abel

I examine optimal taxes in an overlapping generations economy in which each consumer's utility depends on consumption relative to a weighted average of consumption by others (the benchmark level of consumption) as well as on the level of the consumer's own consumption. The socially optimal balanced growth path is characterized by the Modified Golden Rule and by a condition on the intergenerational allocation of consumption in each period. A competitive economy can be induced to attain the social optimum by a lump-sum pay-as-you-go social security system and a tax on capital income.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10099.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Abel, Andrew B. "Optimal Taxation When Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels Of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, 2005, v72(250,Jan), 21-42.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10099
Note: EFG PE
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  1. Croix, David de la & Michel, Philippe, 1999. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 519-537, February.
  2. Wen-Fang Liu & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Consumption Externalities, Production Externalities, and the Accumulation of Capital," Working Papers UWEC-2002-13-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2003.
  3. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  4. Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  5. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
  6. Abel, A.B., 1990. "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation And Catching Up With The Joneses," Weiss Center Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  7. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  9. Carlos Garriga, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Working Papers in Economics 66, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  10. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
  11. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
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