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Can Automatic Tax Increases Pay for the Public Spending Effects of Population Ageing in New Zealand?

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Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which projected aggregate tax revenue changes, in association with population ageing over the next 50 years, can be expected to finance expected increases in social welfare expenditures. It uses projections from two separate models, dealing with social expenditures and income tax and GST revenue. The results suggest that the modest increase required in the overall average tax rate over the next 50 years can be achieved automatically by adjusting income tax thresholds using an index of prices rather than wages. Based on evidence about the New Zealand tax system over the last 50 years, comparisons of average and marginal tax rates suggest that such an increase may be feasible and affordable. The paper discusses the range of considerations involved in deciding if this automatic increase in the aggregate average tax rate, via real fiscal drag of personal income taxes, is desirable compared with alternative fiscal policy changes.

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2013. "Can Automatic Tax Increases Pay for the Public Spending Effects of Population Ageing in New Zealand?," Treasury Working Paper Series 13/22, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:13/22
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    File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2013/13-22/twp13-22.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bandyopadhyay, Debasis & Barro, Robert & Couchman, Jeremy & Gemmell, Norman & Liao, Gordon & McAlister, Fiona, 2012. "Average Marginal Income Tax Rates in New Zealand, 1907-2009," Working Paper Series 2423, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    2. John Creedy & Grant M. Scobie, 2005. "Population Ageing and Social Expenditure in New Zealand," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(1), pages 19-39, March.
    3. Simon Loretz, 2008. "Corporate taxation in the OECD in a wider context," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 639-660, winter.
    4. Matthew Bell & Gary Blick & Oscar Parkyn & Paul Rodway & Polly Vowles, 2010. "Challenges and Choices: Modelling New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Position," Treasury Working Paper Series 10/01, New Zealand Treasury.
    5. John Creedy & Grant M Scobie, 2002. "Population Ageing and Social Expenditure in New Zealand: Stochastic Projections," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/28, New Zealand Treasury.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social welfare expenditures; income tax; GST; real fiscal drag; ageing population;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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