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Economic Efficiency in Recent Tax Reform History: Policy Reversals or Consistent Improvements?

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  • Don Fullerton
  • James B. Mackie

Abstract

The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 reduced personal marginal tax rates and provided significant business tax breaks. Subsequent changes through 1985 cut back on business allowances. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced marginal rates again, but added significantly to business taxes. Was there any unifying theme to these tax changes, or do they represent frequent changes in course for tax policy? This paper uses a general equilibrium model capable of second- best analysis to investigate the net effects on efficiency of each of these changes in capital income taxation. Under the new view that dividend taxes are unimportant investment disincentives, there is no set of other parameters in the model for which these changes generate improvements in efficiency. Under the old view that dividend taxes are important, however, these changes all increase efficiency for a wide range of values for other parameters in the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Don Fullerton & James B. Mackie, 1988. "Economic Efficiency in Recent Tax Reform History: Policy Reversals or Consistent Improvements?," NBER Working Papers 2593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2593 Note: PE
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    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Utilitarianism and horizontal equity : The case for random taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1-33.
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    9. Ballard, Charles L. & Fullerton, Don & Shoven, John B. & Whalley, John, 2009. "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226036335.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1991. "Taxation and the Cost of Capital: The "Old" View, the "New" View, and Another View," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 25-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Tarmo Valkonen, 2001. "The Finnish Corporate Income Tax Reform and the Financial Strategy of Firms: A General Equilibrium Approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 219-239, June.
    3. Fullerton, Don & Karayannis, Marios, 1994. "Tax evasion and the allocation of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 257-278.
    4. Don Fullerton, 1990. "Inputs to Tax Policymaking: The Supply Side, the Deficit, and the Level Playing Field," NBER Working Papers 3507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fullerton, Don & Karayannis, Marios, 1994. "Tax evasion and the allocation of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 257-278.
    6. Elena Briata, 2011. "Marginal tax rates, tax revenues and inequality. Reagan’s fiscal policy," DEP - series of economic working papers 4/2011, University of Genoa, Research Doctorate in Public Economics.

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