IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/3257.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan Skinner
  • Daniel Feenberg

Abstract

Many critics believed that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86) would discourage saving. Yet personal saving rates have rebounded since 1987. This rebound might have been caused by a general decline in marginal tax rates on household saving. And we estimate, at least for the 1980s, a positive elasticity of saving with respect to the after-tax rate of return. But the tax changes alone cannot account for the recent upswing in saving rates. Furthermore, the positive saving elasticity during the 1980s is fleeting and fragile; during the entire postwar period the correlation between the after-tax rate of return and personal saving is at most zero. We also consider three alternative ways by which the Tax Reform Act could have affected personal saving. First, the cutbacks in IRA eligibility were viewed by some as discouraging saving. But conventionally measured personal saving increased after IRA enrollment plummeted in 1987. We show that this anomalous finding may be an artifact of how personal saving is measured, since a different measure - - the real change in household wealth - - grew strongly during the mid-l98Os, before leveling off after 1987. Second, the phasing out of personal credit interest deductions in TRA86 could have discouraged borrowing and thereby stimulated national saving. We find that wealthier taxpayers simply shuffled their personal credit loans into tax-deductible housing mortgages with little net effect on aggregate saving. Finally, saving could have been reduced in 1986 if taxpayers, rushing to realize capital gains before TRA86, spent their proceeds on bit-ticket consumption goods. We also find little evidence in favor of this view, although we do find much of the capital gains ended up in interest-bearing accounts. In sum, TRAB6 had more impact on the composition than on the overall level of saving.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Skinner & Daniel Feenberg, 1990. "The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving," NBER Working Papers 3257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3257
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3257.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    2. Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 25-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gale, William G & Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "IRAs and Household Saving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1233-1260, December.
    4. Hayashi, Fumio & Sims, Christopher A, 1983. "Nearly Efficient Estimation of Time Series Models with Predetermined, but Not Exogenous, Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 783-798, May.
    5. Bovenberg, A. Lans, 1989. "Tax Policy and National Saving in the United States: A Survey," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 123-38, June.
    6. Hamilton, James D, 1985. "Uncovering Financial Market Expectations of Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1224-1241, December.
    7. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1988. "Pension Funding and Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 85-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Michael J. Boskin, 1988. "Issues in the Measurement and Interpretation of Saving and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 2633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Joel Slemrod, 1986. "Saving and the Fear of Nuclear War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 30(3), pages 403-419, September.
    10. Bradford, D.F., 1989. "Market Value Us. Financial Accounting Measures Of National Saving," Papers 34, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
    11. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1991. "The Saving Effect of Tax-deferred Retirement Accounts: Evidence from SIPP," NBER Chapters,in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 103-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    14. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 1991. "Corporate Savings and Shareholder Consumption," NBER Chapters,in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 75-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "Have IRAs Increased U. S. Saving?: Evidence from Consumer Expenditure Surveys," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 661-698.
    16. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1986. "Tax-Deferred Accounts, Constrained Choice and Estimation of Individual Saving," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 579-601.
    17. Friend, Irwin & Hasbrouck, Joel, 1983. "Saving and After-Tax Rates of Return," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 537-543, November.
    18. E. Philip Howrey & Saul H. Hymans, 1978. "The Measurement and Determination of Loanable-Funds Saving," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(3), pages 655-685.
    19. Brown, Bryan W & Maital, Shlomo, 1981. "What Do Economists Know? An Empirical Study of Experts' Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 491-504, March.
    20. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    21. James M. Poterba, 1989. "Venture Capital and Capital Gains Taxation," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 47-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Tax Policy, the Rate of Return, and Savings," NBER Working Papers 0995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Makin, John H & Couch, Kenneth A, 1989. "Saving, Pension Contributions, and the Real Interest Rate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 401-407, August.
    24. Bovenberg, A. Lans, 1989. "Tax Policy and National Saving in the United States: A Survey," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 42(2), pages 123-138, June.
    25. Manchester, Joyce M. & Poterba, James M., 1989. "Second mortgages and household saving," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 325-346, May.
    26. Alan J. Auerbach, 1988. "Capital Gains Taxation in the United States: Realizations, Revenue, and Rhetoric," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 595-638.
    27. Carroll, Chris & Summers, Lawrence H., 1987. "Why have private savings rates in the United States and Canada diverged?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 249-279, September.
    28. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton & John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1985. "Replacing the Personal Income Tax with a Progressive Consumption Tax," NBER Chapters,in: A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation, pages 171-187 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2007. "Do people respond to tax incentives? An analysis of the Italian reform of the deductibility of home mortgage interests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 247-271, February.
    2. Uhlig, Harald & Yanagawa, Noriyuki, 1996. "Increasing the capital income tax may lead to faster growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1521-1540, November.
    3. Alan J. Auerbach & Joel Slemrod, 1997. "The Economic Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 589-632, June.
    4. Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S. & Yanagawa, N., 1994. "Increasing the Capital Income Tax Leads to Faster Growth," Discussion Paper 1994-115, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Steven M. Fazzari & Benjamin Herzon, 1995. "Capital Gains Tax Cuts, Investment, and Growth," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_147, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "The dynamic efficiency cost of not taxing housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 397-417, March.
    7. Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Housing taxation and capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1461-1489, October.
    8. Martin Gervais & Manish Pandey, 2008. "Who Cares About Mortgage Interest Deductibility?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-24, March.
    9. Alan, Sule & Leth-Petersen, Søren & Munk-Nielsen, Anders, 2016. "Tax incentives and borrowing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 162-164.
    10. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1998. "Personal Retirement Saving Programs and Asset Accumulation: Reconciling the Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 23-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Barry Bosworth & Gary Burtless, 1992. "Effects of Tax Reform on Labor Supply, Investment, and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 3-25, Winter.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3257. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.