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The economics of taxing net wealth: A survey of the issues

  • Schnellenbach, Jan

This paper surveys possible motivations for having a net wealth tax. After giving a short overview over the state of wealth taxation in OECD countries, we discuss both popular arguments for such a tax, as well as economic arguments. It is argued that classical normative principles of taxation known from public economics cannot give a sound justification for a net wealth tax. The efficiency-related effects are also discussed and shown to be theoretically ambiguous, while empirical evidence hints at a negative effect on GDP growth. Finally, it is argued that despite of widespread and persistent lobbying for a revitalization of the net wealth tax, this is unlikely to happen due to political economy constraints.

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Paper provided by Walter Eucken Institut e.V. in its series Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics with number 12/5.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:125
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  1. Kurt Schmidheiny, 2004. "Income Segregation and Local Progressive Taxation: Empirical Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 1313, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Frank Somogyi & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2009. "Tax Competition and Income Sorting: Evidence from the Zurich Metropolitan Area," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-25, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  3. Albanesi, Stefania & Sleet, Christopher, 2003. "Dynamic Optimal Taxation with Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner, 2010. "Experimental economics: Where next?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 87-100, January.
  5. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner, 2010. "Experimental Economics: Where Next? Rejoinder," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 120-121, January.
  6. Harms, Philipp & Zink, Stefan, 2003. "Limits to redistribution in a democracy: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 651-668, November.
  7. James A. Yunker, 2010. "Capital wealth taxation as a potential remedy for excessive capital wealth inequality," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 33(1), pages 83-104, October.
  8. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2004. "Zero Expected Wealth Taxes: A Mirrlees Approach to Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000729, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, June.
  10. Nico A. Hansen & Anke S. Kessler, 2001. "The Political Geography of Tax H(e)avens and Tax Hells," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1103-1115, September.
  11. Jukka Pirttil� & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "A 'Leaky Bucket' in the Real World: Estimating Inequality Aversion using Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 60-76, 01.
  12. Stefan Homburg, 1999. "Competition and Co-ordination in International Capital Income Taxation," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 1-17, March.
  13. Peter Birch S�rensen, 2007. "Can Capital Income Taxes Survive? And Should They?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(2), pages 172-228, June.
  14. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
  15. Ihori, Toshihiro, 2001. "Wealth taxation and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 129-148, January.
  16. Hansson, Åsa, 2005. "The Wealth Tax and Entrepreneurial Activity," Working Papers 2005:43, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  17. Vanberg, Viktor J., 2005. "Market and state: the perspective of constitutional political economy," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 23-49, June.
  18. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  19. Aaron, Henry J. & Munnell, Alicia H., 1992. "Reassessing the Role for Wealth Transfer Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(2), pages 119-43, June.
  20. Keith G. Banting, 1991. "The Politics of Wealth Taxes," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 17(3), pages 351-367, September.
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