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Optimal Factor Tax Incidence in Two-sector Human Capital-based Models

This paper studies the optimal factor tax incidence in a standard two-sector, human capital-based endogenous growth model elucidated by Lucas (1988). Capital income taxes generate dynamic inefficiency for capital accumulation and labor income taxes create dynamic inefficiency for human capital accumulation. A factor tax incidence is a tradeoff between these two inefficiencies. A switch from capital income taxes to labor income taxes reduces the long-run welfare coming from lower leisure and increases the long-run welfare originated from higher economic growth and higher consumption. Because the representative agent’s learning time and human capital are inseparable and thus affect learning activities at the same degree, we find that based on the current US income tax code, it is optimal to first tax capital income, and to resort to taxing labor income only when tax revenue is insufficient to cover government expenditure.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan in its series IEAS Working Paper : academic research with number 12-A018.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sin:wpaper:12-a018
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  2. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," CEPR Discussion Papers 5929, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1996. "On the Taxation of Human and Physical Capital in Models of Endogenous Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1477, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Marek Kapicka, 2006. "Optimal Income Taxation with Human Capital Accumulation and Limited Record Keeping," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 612-639, October.
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  26. Andrew Atkeson & V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
  27. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Tax reform with useful public expenditures," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  28. Chen, Been-Lon, 2007. "Factor taxation and labor supply in a dynamic one-sector growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 3941-3964, December.
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