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Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies

This paper studies optimal taxation in an overlapping generations economy. We characterize the optimal path of fiscal policy, both in the long run and in the transition to the steady state. The implications of this study are in sharp contrast with the prescription offered by infinitely-lived agent models. First, the government's desire to tax initial holdings of capital at confiscatory rates is endogenously curtailed by intergenerational redistributional considerations. Second, because of life-cycle elements, capital income taxes are in general different from zero even in the steady state. The tax rate on capital income should only be zero if it is optimal to tax consumption goods uniformly over the lifetime of individuals. The conditions for uniform taxation of consumption depend, in turn, on preferences, the age-profile of labor productivity, and the set of taxes available to the government.

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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 9812.

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Date of creation: 09 Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9812
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. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model," Staff Report 160, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1998. "The A-K Model: It's Past, Present, and Future," NBER Working Papers 6684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ghiglino, Christian & Tvede, Mich, 2000. "Optimal Policy in OG Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 62-83, January.
  5. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Peter E. Rossi, 1993. "On the Optimal Taxation of Capital Income," NBER Working Papers 4525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  7. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  13. Marco Bassetto, 1999. "Political economy of taxation in an overlapping-generations economy," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 133, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
  15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  16. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 1998. "A Quantitative Analysis of Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 307-28, May.
  17. 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.
  18. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
  19. Paul Klein & JosÈ-VÌctor RÌos-Rull, 2003. "Time-consistent optimal fiscal policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1217-1245, November.
  20. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E & Rossi, Peter E, 1993. "Optimal Taxation in Models of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 485-517, June.
  21. Besley, Timothy & Jewitt, Ian, 1995. "Uniform taxation and consumer preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 73-84, September.
  22. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  23. Yvette Alvarez & John Burbidge & Ted Farrell & Leigh Palmer, 1992. "Optimal Taxation in a Life-Cycle Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 111-22, February.
  24. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
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