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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 feedback of private precautionary saving. For logarithmic utility our full analytical solution of the Ramsey problem shows that the optimal aggregate saving rate is independent of income risk. The optimal time-invariant tax on capital is increasing in income risk. Its sign depends on the extent 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 generates a Pareto-improving transition even if the initial equilibrium is dynamically efficient. We generalize our results to Epstein-Zin-Weil utility and 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, 2018. "Optimal taxes on capital in the OLG model with uninsurable idiosyncratic income risk," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-014, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:18014
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    3. Yunmin Chen & YiLi Chien & C.C. Yang, 2021. "Optimal Capital Taxation and Precautionary Savings," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 103(3), pages 333-350, July.
    4. 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.
    5. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen, 2022. "Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 46, pages 124-160, October.
    6. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen & HsinJung Wu, 2020. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth or a Liability? ---Optimal Debt and Taxes in an OLG Model with Uninsurable Income Risk," Working Papers 2020-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 03 Jan 2021.
    7. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2022. "Permanent‐income inequality," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 13(3), pages 1023-1060, July.
    8. 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.
    9. Torben M. Andersen, 2020. "Taxation of capital income in overlapping generations economies," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1245-1261, September.
    10. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Cristina Arellano, 2021. "Micro Risks and Pareto Improving Policies," Working Papers 2021-15, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    11. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen, 2020. "Optimal Fiscal Policy under Capital Overaccumulation," Working Papers 2020-002, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 30 Aug 2021.
    12. 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.
    13. Yunmin Chen & YiLi Chien & C.C. Yang, 2017. "Implementing the Modified Golden Rule? Optimal Ramsey Capital Taxation with Incomplete Markets Revisited," Working Papers 2017-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Oct 2020.
    14. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen, 2019. "Don't Tax Capital---Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences," 2019 Meeting Papers 258, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. 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.
    16. Makarski, Krzysztof & Tyrowicz, Joanna & Komada, Oliwia, 2021. "Efficiency versus Insurance: Capital Income Taxation and Privatizing Social Security," IZA Discussion Papers 14805, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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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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