The Welfare Cost of Uncertain Tax Policy
Frequent shifts in tax policy can increase uncertainty about future net-of-tax wages and interest income. This paper measures the impact of uncertain tax policy on savings, labor supply, and welfare in the United States. A vector autoregression model with six variables was estimated which found the standard error of the one-year-ahead forecast for the wage tax to be 1.8 percentage points, and for the interest income tax 3.3 percentage points. Furthermore, the negative correlation between unanticipated shifts in the real interest rate and changes in the interest income tax amplifies the variability in the real after-tax return. A two-period model of consumption and labor supply is developed that measures the effect of uncertain taxes on savings, work hours, and taxpayer welfare. Using plausible empirical parameters, it is shown that removing all uncertainty about future tax policy can lead to a welfare gain of 0.4 percent of national income, or about 12 billion dollars in 1985.
|Date of creation:||Jun 1986|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Public Economics, November 1988, vol. 37, pp. 129-145.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Seater, John J., 1985. "On the construction of marginal federal personal and social security tax rates in the U.S," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 121-135, January.
- 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.
- Kanbur, S M Ravi, 1983. "Labour Supply under Uncertainty with Piecewise Linear Tax Regimes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(200), pages 379-94, November.
- Robert E. Hall, 1985. "Real Interest and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 1694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, September.
- Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
- Robert J. Barro, 1984.
"The Behavior of U.S. Deficits,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
32, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Weber, Warren E, 1975. "Interest Rates, Inflation, and Consumer Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 843-58, December.
- Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983.
"Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax,"
The Journal of Business,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-52, October.
- Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 1060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J. & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," Scholarly Articles 3451293, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 26, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
- Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines Jr., 1986. "Tax Reform, Investment, and the Value of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 1803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1968.
"The Effects of Income, Wealth, and Capital Gains Taxation on Risk Taking,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- J. E. Stiglitz, 1969. "The Effects of Income, Wealth, and Capital Gains Taxation on Risk-Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 263-283.
- Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
- Don Fullerton & Marios Karayannis, 1987. "The Taxation of Income from Capital in the United States, 1980-86," NBER Working Papers 2478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1947. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.