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Capital Levies and Transition to a Consumption Tax

  • Louis Kaplow

The merits of capital levies depend on the likelihood of repetition, the extent of anticipation, and its effects on distribution. The relevance of these features, which in varying degrees is underdeveloped or underappreciated in pertinent literatures, is elaborated and then considered with regard to the problem of transition to a consumption tax. Other transition issues are distinguished, and specific attention is devoted to rate changes under a consumption tax and whether owners of preexisting capital are effectively compensated through higher net-of-tax returns due to repeal of the income tax. The analysis is also related to literature that examines dynamic models of taxation, particularly work simulating consumption tax transitions and assessing the optimality of capital taxation in the long run.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12259.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Auerbach, Alan J. and Daniel N. Shaviro (eds.) Institutional Foundations of Public Finance: Economic and Legal Perspectives. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12259
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  1. David F. Bradford, 1998. "Transition to and Tax Rate Flexibility in a Cash-Flow Type Tax," NBER Working Papers 6465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1999. "Taxation and Saving," Working Papers 99007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  4. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "Transition Policy: A Conceptual Framework," NBER Working Papers 9596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Auerbach, Alan J., 2006. "The Choice between Income and Consumption Taxes: A Primer," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9q85f6qz, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  6. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Jonathan Skinner, 1981. "The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform," NBER Working Papers 0819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1983. "National Savings, Economic Welfare, and the Structure of Taxation," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 459-498 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  9. Martin Feldstein, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 29-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  11. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  12. Eichengreen, Barry, 1989. "The Capital Levy in Theory and Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1985. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Howitt, Peter & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1989. "Gradual Reforms of Capital Income Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 106-24, March.
  16. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines, Jr., 1987. "Anticipated Tax Changes and the Timing of Investment," NBER Chapters, in: Taxes and Capital Formation, pages 85-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Sarkar, Shounak & Zodrow, George R., 1993. "Transitional Issues in Moving to a Direct Consumption Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(3), pages 359-76, September.
  18. David Bradford, . "Consumption Taxes: Some Fundamental Transition Issues," EPRU Working Paper Series 95-15, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  19. Boadway, Robin & Bruce, Neil, 1984. "A general proposition on the design of a neutral business tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 231-239, July.
  20. Roberts, Kevin, 1984. "The Theoretical Limits of Redistribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 177-95, April.
  21. Kaplow, Louis, 2006. "On the undesirability of commodity taxation even when income taxation is not optimal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1235-1250, August.
  22. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  23. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1996. "Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax," NBER Working Papers 5832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Rogers, Carol Ann, 1986. "The effect of distributive goals on the time inconsistency of optimal taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 251-269, March.
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  26. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  27. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421 Elsevier.
  28. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
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