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Approaches to Efficient Capital Taxation: Leveling the Playing Field vs.Living by the Golden Rule

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  • Lawrence H. Goulder
  • Philippe Thalmann

Abstract

In this paper we explore the efficiency gains from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and prospective tax reforms, separating out the intersectoral and intertemporal efficiency consequences. To assess these effects, we employ a general equilibrium model that considers the effects of taxes on the allocation of capital across industries, assets, sectors, and time. We find that the 1986 tax reform yielded only a small improvement in the intersectoral allocation of capital because the beneficial effects from its more uniform treatment of capital within the business sector are largely offset by adverse effects stemming from increased tax disparities between the business and housing sectors. The intertemporal efficiency effects of the reform, in contrast, are significant and negative. Hence the overall efficiency impact of the reform is negative as well. Our results indicate that the economic margins offering the greatest scope for efficiency gains are different from those that received the most attention under the 1986 tax reform. While much of the 1986 reform concentrated on reducing tax disparities within the business sector, much larger efficiency gains would result from reducing tax disparities between the business and housing sectors and from general reductions in effective marginal tax rates on capital.

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  • Lawrence H. Goulder & Philippe Thalmann, 1990. "Approaches to Efficient Capital Taxation: Leveling the Playing Field vs.Living by the Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 3559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3559
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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1998. "Environmental Policy Making in a Second-Best Setting," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 279-328, November.
    2. Annick Hespel & Michel Mignolet, 2000. "Tax-aided financial services companies and the cost of capital," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 349-374, September.
    3. Kenneth L. Judd, 2011. "The Importance of Asymmetric Tax Policy and Dangers of Aggregation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(s1), pages 175-205, August.
    4. Fehr, Hans, 1999. "Welfare Effects of Dynamic Tax Reforms," Beiträge zur Finanzwissenschaft, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, volume 5, number urn:isbn:9783161470165, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. J. Gregory Ballentine, 1992. "The Structure of the Tax System versus the Level of Taxation: An Evaluation of the 1986 Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 59-68, Winter.
    8. Bye, Brita & Avitsland, Turid, 2003. "The welfare effects of housing taxation in a distorted economy: a general equilibrium analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 895-921, September.
    9. Hans Fehr, "undated". "Welfare Effects of Investment Incentive Policies: A Quantitative Assessment," EPRU Working Paper Series 95-19, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    10. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2001. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does It Cost?," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 45-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Philippe Thalmann & Lawrence Goulder & François Delorme, 1996. "Assessing the international spillover effects of capital income taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(4), pages 449-478, October.
    12. Brita Bye & Turid Åvitsland, 2001. "The welfare effects of housing taxation in a distorted economy: A general equilibrium analysis," Discussion Papers 306, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    13. Fredriksson, Anders, 2007. "Compositional and dynamic Laffer effects in models with constant returns to scale," Research Papers in Economics 2007:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 21 Apr 2004.
    14. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H., 2000. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does It Cost?," Discussion Papers 10647, Resources for the Future.
    15. Tracy Foertsch, 2004. "Macroeconomic Impacts of Stylized Tax Cuts in an Intertemporal Computable General Equilibrium Model: Technical Paper 2004-11," Working Papers 15914, Congressional Budget Office.
    16. Tatsuo Hatta & Hideki Nishioka, 1992. "The Dynamic Efficiency Effect of a Change in the Marginal Capital Income Tax Rate: The Nakasone-Takeshita Tax Reform," NBER Chapters, in: The Political Economy of Tax Reform, pages 159-185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Martin D. Dietz & Christian Keuschnigg, 2004. "Corporate Income Tax Reform in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(IV), pages 483-519, December.
    18. Fehr, Hans & Wiegard, Wolfgang, 1996. "Numerische Gleichgewichtsmodelle: Grundstruktur, Anwendungen und Erkenntnisgehalt," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 75, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    19. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1993. "Promoting investment under international capital mobility : An intertemporal general equilibrium analysis," Other publications TiSEM 3d211075-2c03-478d-b657-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    20. Robert P. Inman, 1993. "Presidential Leadership and the Reform of Fiscal Policy: Learning from Reagan's Role in TRA 86," NBER Working Papers 4395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Holmoy, Erling & Vennemo, Haakon, 1995. "A general equilibrium assessment of a suggested reform in capital income taxation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 531-556, December.

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