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Should Tax Reform Level the Playing Field?

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  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

While frequently invoked, the level playing field ideal and its practical embodiment in tax legislation has received relatively little analysis. This paper examines the economic arguments surrounding the level playing field doctrine. I conclude that leveling the playing field is an issue of little economic importance and that efforts to level the playing field like those recently enacted are likely to create more important nonneutralities than those they eliminate. They may however contribute to the perceived fairness of the tax system.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Should Tax Reform Level the Playing Field?," NBER Working Papers 2132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2132
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Don Fullerton & Roger H. Gordon, 1983. "A Reexamination of Tax Distortions in General Equilibrium Models," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 369-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Investment Incentives and the Discounting of Depreciation Allowances," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 295-304 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jorgenson, Dale W & Yun, Kun-Young, 1986. " Tax Policy and Capital Allocation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(2), pages 355-377.
    4. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines, Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Notes on the Tax Treatment of Structures," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-544, September.
    6. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1984. "The Taxation of Risky Assets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 20-39, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. James R. Hines Jr., 1998. "Investment Ramifications of Distortionary Tax Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 6615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Auerbach, Alan J., 1989. "The deadweight loss from `non-neutral' capital income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-36, October.
    3. Liu, Yang & Yang, Jinqiang, 2015. "Optimal investment of private equity," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 76-86.
    4. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-178, Winter.
    5. Donald Bruce & William Fox & Matthew Murray, 2003. "To Tax Or Not To Tax? The Case Of Electronic Commerce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 25-40, January.
    6. Conesa, Juan C. & Domínguez, Begoña, 2013. "Intangible investment and Ramsey capital taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 983-995.

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