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Investment versus Savings Incentives: The Size of the Bang for the Buck and the Potential for Self-Financing Business Tax Cuts

  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

This paper examines the closed economy effects of government policies that vary with respect to whether they treat newly produced capital differently from old capital. Policies that do make this distinction are denoted investment policies, while those that do not are labelled savings policies. While both types of policies alter marginal incentives to accumulate new capital, investment incentives can generate significant inframarginal redistribution from current holders of wealth to those with small or zero claims on the existing capital stock. Among the principal findings, based on simulations of a general equilibrium, perfect foresight, overlapping generations life-cycle model, are:1)Investment incentives, even if financed by short run increases in the stock of debt, significantly increase capital formation.2)Deficit-financed savings incentives, in contrast, typically reduce the economy's long run capital stock.3)Deficit-financed investment incentives can actually be self-financing,in that they may lead to a long run surplus without any increase in other tax rates.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1027.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1027.

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Date of creation: Nov 1982
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Publication status: published as Kotlikoff, Laurence J. A short summary "National Savings and Economic Policy: The Efficacy of Investment vs. Savings Incentives." American Economic Review, Vol. 73, No. 2, (May 1983), pp. 82-87.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1027
Note: PE
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  1. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  2. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Edward E. Leamer & Jeffrey Sachs, 1981. "The International Economics of Transitional Growth: The Case of the United States," NBER Working Papers 0773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Auerbach, Alan J & Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Skinner, Jonathan, 1983. "The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 81-100, February.
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