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Consumption Taxes and Redistribution

  • Isabel Horta Correia

It is relatively well known that the introduction of consumption taxation as an alternative in the tax code, and as the main source of government revenues, leads to a more efficient tax system. However the conventional wisdom is that the change from the actual tax code, based on taxation of capital and labor income to this consumption based system, has undesirable distributional consequences. In this work a very simple method is developed to argue that the converse is the most reasonable outcome from that fundamental tax reform. The main difference in relation to the literature comes from the assumed source of household heterogeneity. Additionally it is shown that the inclusion of a tax on consumption allows for redistributive policies with no costs in terms of efficiency.

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Paper provided by Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department in its series Working Papers with number w200511.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w200511
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  1. Joel Slemrod & Jon Bakija, 2004. "Taxing Ourselves, 3rd Edition: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 026269302x, June.
  2. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Distributional Implications of Introducing a Broad-Based Consumption Tax," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 1-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Helpman, Elhanan & Sadka, Efraim, 1982. "Consumption versus Wage Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 363-72, May.
  4. ColemanII, Wilbur John, 2000. "Welfare and optimum dynamic taxation of consumption and income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-39, April.
  5. Ventura, G., 1997. "Flat Tax Reform: A Quantitative Exploration," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9706, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  6. David Altig & Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent A. Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1997. "Simulating U.S. Tax Reform," NBER Working Papers 6248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
  8. Jorgenson, Dale W & Wilcoxen, Peter J, 1997. "The Long-Run Dynamics of Fundamental Tax Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 126-32, May.
  9. Daniel R. Feenberg & Andrew W. Mitrusi & James M. Poterba, 1997. "Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax," NBER Working Papers 5885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Isabel Correia & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2008. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Equivalence Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 141-170, 02.
  11. Correia, Isabel H., 1999. "On the efficiency and equity trade-off," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 581-603, December.
  12. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  13. Isabel H. Correia, 1999. "Fiscal rules of income transformation," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 199-205.
  14. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1999. "Equity and Resources: An Analysis of Education Finance Systems," NBER Working Papers 7111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
  16. Santiago Budría & Javier Díaz-Giménez, 2007. "Economic inequality in Spain: the european community household panel dataset," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 1-38, March.
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