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Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxation with Habit Formation

  • Jang-Ting Guo

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)

  • Alan Krause

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of York)

It has recently been shown that incorporating "keeping up with the Joneses" preferences into a prototypical two-ability-type optimal nonlinear taxation model leads to higher marginal income tax rates for both types of agents. Specifically, the high-skill type faces a positive marginal income tax rate, rather than zero as in the conventional case. In this paper, agents' utility functions are postulated to exhibit "habit formation in consumption" such that the prototypical two-ability-type optimal nonlinear taxation model becomes a dynamic analytical framework. We show that if the government can commit to its future fiscal policy, the presence of consumption habits does not affect the standard results on optimal marginal income tax rates. By contrast, if the government cannot pre-commit, the high-skill type will face a negative marginal income tax rate, whereas the effect of habit formation on the low-skill type's marginal tax rate is ambiguous.

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File URL: http://economics.ucr.edu/papers/papers08/08-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200810.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:ucr:wpaper:200810
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  1. Carroll, Christopher D., 2000. "Solving consumption models with multiplicative habits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 67-77, July.
  2. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  4. Berliant, Marcus & Ledyard, John, 2011. "Optimal Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxes with No Commitment," MPRA Paper 31749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation and Equilibrium Efficiency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 231-251, 06.
  6. Craig Brett & John Weymark, 2008. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings without Commitment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0805, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521629560 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Jang-Ting Guo & Zuzana Janko, 2009. "Reexamination of Real Business Cycles in a Small Open Economy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 165-182, July.
  9. Hotz, V Joseph & Kydland, Finn E & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1988. "Intertemporal Preferences and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 335-60, March.
  10. Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Altruism, jealousy and the theory of optimal non-linear taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-87, February.
  11. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
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