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Optimal taxes on capital in the OLG model with uninsurable idiosyncratic income risk

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  • Krueger, Dirk
  • Ludwig, Alexander

Abstract

We characterize the optimal linear tax on capital in an Overlapping Generations model with two period lived households facing uninsurable idiosyncratic labor income risk. The Ramsey government internalizes the general equilibrium effects of private precautionary saving on factor prices. For logarithmic utility a complete analytical solution of the Ramsey problem exhibits an optimal aggregate saving rate that is independent of income risk, whereas the optimal time-invariant tax on capital implementing this saving rate is increasing in income risk. The optimal saving rate is constant along the transition and its sign depends on the magnitude of risk and on the Pareto weight of future generations. If the Ramsey tax rate that maximizes steady state utility is positive, then implementing this tax rate permanently induces a Pareto-improving transition even if the initial equilibrium is dynamically efficient. For general Epstein-Zin-Weil utility we show that the optimal steady state saving rate is increasing in income risk if and only if the intertemporal elasticity of substitution is smaller than 1.

Suggested Citation

  • Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2019. "Optimal taxes on capital in the OLG model with uninsurable idiosyncratic income risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 201, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:201
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    2. Schünemann, Johannes & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Boosting taxes for boasting about houses: Status concerns in the housing market," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 05/2017, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.
    3. Krapf, Matthias, 2018. "The Joint Distribution of Wealth and Income Risk: Evidence from Bern," Working papers 2018/18, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    4. Alexander Gorokhovsky & Anna Rubinchik, 2019. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Determinacy of Asymptotically Stationary Equilibria in Olg Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2179, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. John Revesz, 2020. "A Model of the Optimal Tax Mix Including Capital Taxation," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 48(3), pages 387-402, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Idiosyncratic Risk; Taxation of Capital; Overlapping Generations; Precautionary Saving; Pecuniary Externality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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