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Optimal Capital Versus Labor Taxation with Innovation-Led Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Philippe Aghion

    () (Department of Economics, Harvard University and NBER)

  • Ufuk Akcigit

    () (Department of Economics Univerity of Pennsylvania and NBER)

  • Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and NBER)

Abstract

Chamley (1986) and Judd (1985) showed that, in a standard neoclassical growth model with capital accumulation and infinitely lived agents, either taxing or subsidizing capital cannot be optimal in the steady state. In this paper, we introduce innovation-led growth into the Chamley-Judd framework, using a Schumpeterian growth model where productivity-enhancing innovations result from pro.t-motivated R&D investment. Our main result is that, for a given required trend of public expenditure, a zero tax/subsidy on capital becomes suboptimal. In particular, the higher the level of public expenditure and the income elasticity of labor supply, the less should capital income be subsidized and the more it should be taxed. Not taxing capital implies that labor must be taxed at a higher rate. This in turn has a detrimental effect on labor supply and therefore on the market size for innovation. At the same time, for a given labor supply, taxing capital also reduces innovation incentives, so that for low levels of public expenditure and/or labor supply elasticity it becomes optimal to subsidize capital income.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Ufuk Akcigit & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, 2013. "Optimal Capital Versus Labor Taxation with Innovation-Led Growth," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-025
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Philippe Aghion & Diego Comin & Peter Howitt & Isabel Tecu, 2016. "When Does Domestic Savings Matter for Economic Growth?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 64(3), pages 381-407, August.
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    8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aghion, Philippe & Akcigit, Ufuk & Cagé, Julia & Kerr, William R., 2016. "Taxation, corruption, and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 24-51.
    2. Steve Raymond & Lukas Schmid & Anastasios Karantounias & Mariano Croce, 2017. "A Tax Plan for Endogenous Innovation," 2017 Meeting Papers 109, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Long, Xin & Pelloni, Alessandra, 2017. "Factor income taxation in a horizontal innovation model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 137-159.
    4. Chen, Ping-ho & Chu, Angus C. & Chu, Hsun & Lai, Ching-chong, 2017. "Short-run and long-run effects of capital taxation on innovation and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 207-221.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    : Capital tax; labor tax; optimal taxation; innovation; R&D; growth.;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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