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Housing Taxation and Capital Accumulation

This paper studies the impact of the preferential tax treatment of housing capital in a model economy that includes the main housing tax provisions currently in place in the U.S. and a minimum downpayment requirement upon purchasing non-divisible houses. Distortions arise because the tax code makes the return on housing capital larger than that on business capital. The wedge between the two rates of return emanates from the failure to tax imputed rents and is amplified by the presence of mortgage interest deductibility. Simulations show that either taxing imputed rents or eliminating mortgage interest deductibility substantially increases welfare. Moreover, welfare gains accrue to individuals at every income level and distributional effects are much smaller than conventionally believed.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 9807.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9807
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Berkovec, James & Fullerton, Don, 1992. "A General Equilibrium Model of Housing, Taxes, and Portfolio Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 390-429, April.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Accumulation of Residential and Nonresidential Capital," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 81-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfections: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
  4. Fullerton, Don, 1987. "The indexation of interest, depreciation, and capital gains and tax reform in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 25-51, February.
  5. Harvey S. Rosen, 1983. "Housing Subsidies: Effects on Housing Decisions, Efficiency, and Equity," NBER Working Papers 1161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "The dynamic efficiency cost of not taxing housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 397-417, March.
  8. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109, February.
  9. Artle, Roland & Varaiya, Pravin, 1978. "Life cycle consumption and homeownership," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 38-58, June.
  10. Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Downpayment Effects," NBER Working Papers 4373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jonathan Skinner & Daniel Feenberg, 1990. "The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving," NBER Working Papers 3257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James M. Poterba, 1992. "Taxation and Housing Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Canada-U.S. Tax Comparisons, pages 275-294 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James M. Poterba, 1983. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset Market Approach," Working papers 339, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Engelhardt, Gary V, 1996. "Consumption, Down Payments, and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 255-71, May.
  15. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Edward C. Prescott & Terry Fitzgerald & Fernando Alvarez, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Staff Report 153, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Peter Linneman & Susan Wachter, 1989. "The Impacts of Borrowing Constraints on Homeownership," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 389-402.
  17. Poterba, James M, 1992. "Taxation and Housing: Old Questions, New Answers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 237-42, May.
  18. Hendershott, Patric H & Hu, Sheng Cheng, 1983. " The Allocation of Capital between Residential and Nonresidential Uses: Taxes, Inflation and Capital Market Constraints," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 795-812, June.
  19. Gahvari, Firouz, 1984. "Incidence and efficiency aspects of differential taxation of residential and industrial capital in a growing economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 211-233, November.
  20. Lawrence D. Jones, 1989. "Current Wealth and Tenure Choice," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 17-40.
  21. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
  22. Peter M. Zorn, 1989. "Mobility-Tenure Decisions and Financial Credit: Do Mortgage Qualification Requirements Constrain Homeownership?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-16.
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