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Health Risk, Insurance and Optimal Progressive Income Taxation

Author

Listed:
  • Juergen Jung

    (Towson University)

  • Chung Tran

    (Australian National University)

Abstract

We study the optimal progressivity of personal income taxes in an environment where individuals are exposed to idiosyncratic shocks to health and labor productivity over the lifecycle. Our analysis is based on a large-scale overlapping generations general equilibrium model that is calibrated to the US economy. Our results indicate that the presence of health risk and health insurance has a strong effect on the amount of redistribution and social in- surance provided by progressive income taxes. In an environment with a non-universal health insurance system, such as the US system, the optimal income tax system is highly progressive in order to provide a sufficient level of redistribution to unhealthy low income individuals. The total welfare gain from optimizing the progressivity level is 5.6 percent in compensating lifetime consumption. More inclusive health insurance systems, such as Medicare for all, lead to large decreases in the optimal level of tax progressivity. When health expenditure risk is eliminated, the optimal income tax code becomes more similar to the findings of previous studies that used models without health risk. Our findings highlight the quantitative importance of accounting for the interdependence of health insurance and income taxes when designing optimal income tax policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2019. "Health Risk, Insurance and Optimal Progressive Income Taxation," 2019 Meeting Papers 620, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed019:620
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2015. "Social Health Insurance: A Quantitative Exploration," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2015-629, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    2. Ricardo Reis & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Optimal Automatic Stabilizers," 2015 Meeting Papers 608, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Yogo, Motohiro, 2016. "Portfolio choice in retirement: Health risk and the demand for annuities, housing, and risky assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 17-34.
    4. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2016. "On the optimal provision of social insurance: Progressive taxation versus education subsidies in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 72-98.
    5. Mariacristina De Nardi & Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2017. "The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health," NBER Working Papers 23963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, February.
    7. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2017. "Optimal Taxation and Human Capital Policies over the Life Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(6), pages 1931-1990.
    8. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2008. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," CAEPR Working Papers 2007-023, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington.
    9. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
    10. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2016. "Market Inefficiency, Insurance Mandate and Welfare: U.S. Health Care Reform 2010," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 132-159, April.
    11. Capatina, Elena, 2015. "Life-cycle effects of health risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 67-88.
    12. Kindermann, Fabian & Krueger, Dirk, 2014. "High marginal tax rates on the top 1%?," CFS Working Paper Series 473, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    13. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2016. "Market Inefficiency, Insurance Mandate and Welfare: U.S. Health Care Reform 2010," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 132-159, April.
    14. Dahlia K. Remler & Jason E. Rachlin & Sherry A. Glied, 2001. "What can the take-up of other programs teach us about how to improve take-up of health insurance programs?," NBER Working Papers 8185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Health Risk, Insurance and Optimal Progressive Income Taxation
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2019-10-10 19:15:25
    2. Optimal Progressive Income Taxation in a Bewley-Grossman Framework
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2017-04-15 01:55:36

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets

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