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Uncertainty, Welfare Cost, and the 'Adaptability' of U.S. Corporate Taxes


  • Don Fullerton
  • Andrew B. Lyon
  • Richard J. Rosen


Alternative corporate tax systems differ in their ability to adapt to changes in the rate of inflation. Absent complete indexing of depreciation allowances, a tax system may use the expected inflation rate to set accelerated depreciation allowances in a way that minimizes the welfare loss from them is allocation of capital. This welfare loss is a nonlinear function of the assumed inflation rate, however, so the welfare loss at the expected inflation rate may be quite different from the expected welfare loss. We compute these two welfare concepts for each of three alternative corporate tax schemes in the U.S. and for two different relationships between inflation and interest rates. One important finding is that the Auerbach-Jorgenson first year recovery plan is not equivalent to indexing as is often claimed, if uncertainty about inflation implies uncertainty about the real after-tax discount rate.

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  • Don Fullerton & Andrew B. Lyon & Richard J. Rosen, 1983. "Uncertainty, Welfare Cost, and the 'Adaptability' of U.S. Corporate Taxes," NBER Working Papers 1239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1239
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David F. Bradford, 1978. "Tax Neutrality and the Investment Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 0269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fullerton, Don & Henderson, Yolanda Kodrzycki, 1985. "Long-run Effects of the Accelerated Cost Recovery System," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 363-372, August.
    3. Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1983. "The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the U.S., U.K., Sweden, and West Germany--The Theoretical Framework--," NBER Working Papers 1058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Don Fullerton & Andrew B. Lyon, 1988. "Tax Neutrality and Intangible Capital," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy: Volume 2, pages 63-88, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David G. Hartman, 1985. "The Welfare Effects of a Capital Income Tax in an Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 1551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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