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What do Aggregate Consumption Euler Equations Say about the Capital Income Tax Burden?


  • Casey B. Mulligan


Aggregate consumption Euler equations fit financial asset return data poorly. But they fit the return on the capital stock well, which leads us to three empirical findings relating to the capital income tax burden. First, capital taxation drives a wedge between consumption growth and the expected pre-tax capital return. Second, capital taxation is the major distortion in the capital market, in the sense that most of the medium and long run deviations between expected consumption growth and the expected pre-tax capital return are associated with capital taxation. Third, consumption growth appears to be pretty elastic to the after-tax capital return (i.e., capital is elastically supplied), even while it appears inelastic to returns on various financial assets. Capital income taxes are passed on through reduced capital accumulation, or higher markups, or some combination.

Suggested Citation

  • Casey B. Mulligan, 2004. "What do Aggregate Consumption Euler Equations Say about the Capital Income Tax Burden?," NBER Working Papers 10262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10262
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Feldstein, Martin & Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & Poterba, James, 1983. "The effective tax rate and the pretax rate of return," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 129-158, July.
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    4. Marco Cagetti & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams, 2002. "Robustness and Pricing with Uncertain Growth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 363-404, March.
    5. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Capital, Interest, and Aggregate Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 9373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J, 2001. "Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications of Endogenous Solvency Constraints," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 1117-1151.
    7. Casey B. Mulligan, 2004. "Robust Aggregate Implications of Stochastic Discount Factor Volatility," NBER Working Papers 10210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    9. Casey B. Mulligan, 2003. "Capital Tax Incidence: Fisherian Impressions from the Time Series," NBER Working Papers 9916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Annicchiarico & Luisa Corrado & Alessandra Pelloni, 2011. "Long‐Term Growth And Short‐Term Volatility: The Labour Market Nexus," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(s1), pages 646-672, June.
    2. Lu, Shu-Shiuan, 2013. "The role of capital market efficiency in long-term growth: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 161-174.
    3. Alejandro Cuñat & Marco Maffezzoli, 2007. "Can Comparative Advantage Explain the Growth of us Trade?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 583-602, April.
    4. Barbara Annicchiarico & Luisa Corrado & Alessandra Pelloni, 2008. "Volatility, Growth and Labour Elasticity," Working Paper series 32_08, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    5. Gourio, François, 2009. "Is there a majority to support a capital tax cut?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1278-1295, June.
    6. Ravi Bansal & Dana Kiku & Amir Yaron, 2009. "An Empirical Evaluation of the Long-Run Risks Model for Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 15504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Marianne Andries, 2012. "Consumption-based Asset Pricing Loss Aversion," 2012 Meeting Papers 571, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Gourio, François & Siemer, Michael & Verdelhan, Adrien, 2013. "International risk cycles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 471-484.
    9. Casey B. Mulligan, 2011. "Means-Tested Subsidies and Economic Performance Since 2007," NBER Working Papers 17445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Taiji Harashima, 2005. "An Estimate of the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution in a Production Economy," Macroeconomics 0508030, EconWPA.
    11. Xin Long & Robert Waldmann & Alessandra Pelloni, 2008. "Lump-Sum Taxes in a R&D Model," Working Paper series 35_08, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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