I Will Survive: Capital Taxation, Voter Turnout and Time Inconsistency
This paper reconsiders the debate around the political determination of capital income taxes and explains why such taxes survive in most OECD countries. The political economy literature on redistributive politics (Persson and Tabellini 2003) emphasizes the role played by the lower class in the political arena: being labor more concentrated than capital, the majority of the population benefits by overtaxing capital and undertaxing labour. However, in reality, political participation (voting, lobbying, protesting etc.) is positively correlated with income. Therefore, a paradoxical result emerges: why do the upper class, who is politically more active and own most of the capital, still favour a positive capital tax? Hence, voters' income is not the sole relevant variable in the political determination of the capital tax. To reconcile this apparent puzzle, we propose a model that incorporates time inconsistency à la Laibson in individual preferences We show that time inconsistent individuals are politically more homogeneous (or “single-minded”) than far-sighted, and prefer to tax more capital income, instead of labor income, since accumulated saving are below the planned (and optimal) level and the distortionary effects of a higher capital tax are not only reduced but also delayed in time. We demonstrate that, since politicians find easier to please hyperbolic voters by proposing a tax policy that includes lower labor and higher capital taxes compared to an economy with only far sighted. Moreover, we show that, as the proportion of time inconsistent individuals in the population increases, the tax policy becomes more and more biased towards capital taxation.
|Date of creation:||26 Sep 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: I-80126 Napoli|
Phone: +39 081 - 675372
Fax: +39 081 - 675372
Web page: http://www.csef.it/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998.
"Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies,"
UWO Department of Economics Working Papers
9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
- Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
- Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999.
"Capital Income Taxation when Inherited wealth is not Observable,"
IDEI Working Papers
109, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2001.
- Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
- CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, 2001. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers 2001020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1700, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Judd, Kenneth L., 1999. "Optimal taxation and spending in general competitive growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-26, January.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Auerbach, Alan J., 2006.
"The Future of Capital Income Taxation,"
Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series
qt90v90406, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
- Judd, Kenneth L., 1985.
"Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
- Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Martin Feldstein, 1978.
"The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation,"
in: Research in Taxation, pages 29-51
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993.
"Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model,"
160, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1981.
"The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation in a Growing Economy,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 468-96, June.
- Christophe Chamley, 1980. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation in a Growing Economy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 553, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Jonathan Skinner, 1981.
"The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform,"
NBER Working Papers
0819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Auerbach, Alan J & Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Skinner, Jonathan, 1983. "The Efficiency Gains from Dynamic Tax Reform," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 81-100, February.
- Andrew B. Abel, 2007. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kenneth L. Judd, 1997. "The Optimal Tax Rate for Capital Income is Negative," NBER Working Papers 6004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
- Alan J. Auerbach, 1979. "The Optimal Taxation of Heterogeneous Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 589-612.
- Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
- E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
- Paola Profeta, 2002. "Retirement and Social Security in a Probabilistic Voting Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 331-348, August.
- Atkinson, A B & Sandmo, A, 1980. "Welfare Implications of the Taxation of Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(359), pages 529-49, September.
- Michele Bernasconi & Paola Profeta, 2007. "Redistribution or Education? The Political Economy of the Social Race," CESifo Working Paper Series 1934, CESifo Group Munich.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lia Ambrosio)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.