Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao. and Peled, Dan. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Dept.) Number: 503 Abstract:
It is often argued that with a positively skewed income distribution (median less than mean) a majority voting over proportional tax rates would result in higher tax rates than those that maximize average welfare, and will accordingly reduce aggregate savings. We reexamine this view in a capital accumulation model, in which distorting redistributive taxes provide insurance against idiosyncratic shocks, and income distributions evolve endogenously. We find small differences of either sign between the tax rates set by a majority voting and a utilitarian government, for reasonable parametric specifications. We show how these differences reflect a greater responsiveness of a utilitarian government to the average need for the insurance provided by the tax-redistribution scheme. These conclusions remain true despite the fact that the model simulations produce positively skewed distributions of total income across agents.
Keyword: Taxes, Income distribution, and Votes Subject (JEL): E62 - Macroeconomic policy, macroeconomic aspects of public finance, and general outlook - Fiscal policy and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior
Creator: Braun, R. Anton. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Dept.) Number: 506 Abstract:
This paper investigates the macroeconomic effects of cyclical fluctuations in marginal tax rates. It finds that systematically including tax variables in a standard real business cycle model substantially improves the model's ability to reproduce basic facts about postwar U.S. business cycle fluctuations. In particular, modeling fluctuations in personal and corporate income tax rates increases the model's predicted relative variability of hours and decreases its predicted correlation between hours and average productivity. Fluctuations in tax rates produce large substitution effects that alter the leisure/labor supply decision.
Keyword: Tax rates, Real business cycle model, Corporate tax , Tax, Productivity, Taxation, Taxes, Business cycle, and Income tax Subject (JEL): E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles, H24 - Taxation, subsidies and revenue - Personal income and other nonbusiness taxes and subsidies, and H25 - Taxation, subsidies and revenue - Business taxes and subsidies
Creator: Krusell, Per., Quadrini, Vincenzo., and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor. Series: Lucas expectations anniversary conference Abstract:
We use political-equilibrium theory and the neoclassical growth model to compare the quantitative properties of different tax systems. We first explore whether societies which can only use consumption taxes fare better than societies which can only use income taxes. We find that if government outlays are used mainly for redistribution through transfers, then the answer is no, contradicting conventional wisdom in public finance. The reason for this is that when taxes are endogenous, and voted on by a selfish constituency, the distortionary effects of taxation are taken into account in choosing the level of taxation. Hence, political equilibria have the property that taxes which are relatively distortionary will be relatively low. These results are overturned if the government outlays are used only for the providing of public goods, implying that less distortionary taxes give better outcomes. We also investigate the properties of a tax systems in which both consumption and income taxes are used and voted on simultaneously. Since the ability to use more tax instruments allows redistribution with less distortions, the total amount of transfers tends to be higher here than in one-tax systems. Typically, tax systems tend to be self-perpetuating in the sense that changes of the tax system result in a reduction in the welfare of the median voter.
Keyword: Tax, Consumption tax, Tax system, Income tax, and Taxes Subject (JEL): H25 - Taxation, subsidies and revenue - Business taxes and subsidies, E62 - Macroeconomic policy, macroeconomic aspects of public finance, and general outlook - Fiscal policy, and H24 - Taxation, subsidies and revenue - Personal income and other nonbusiness taxes and subsidies
Creator: Mulligan, Casey B. Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
I prove some theorems for competitive equilibria in the presence of distortionary taxes and other restraints of trade, and use those theorems to motivate an algorithm for (exactly) computing and empirically evaluating competitive equilibria in dynamic economies. Although its economics is relatively sophisticated, the algorithm is so computationally economical that it can be implemented with a few lines in a spreadsheet. Although a competitive equilibrium models interactions between all sectors, all consumer types, and all time periods, I show how my algorithm permits separate empirical evaluation of these pieces of the model and hence is practical even when very little data is available. For similar reasons, these evaluations are not particularly sensitive to how data is partitioned into "trends" and "cycles." I then compute a real business cycle model with distortionary taxes that fits aggregate U.S. time series for the period 1929-50 and conclude that, if it is to explain aggregate behavior during the period, government policy must have heavily taxed labor income during the Great Depression and lightly taxed it during the war. In other words, the challenge for the competitive equilibrium approach is not so much why output might change over time, but why the marginal product of labor and the marginal value of leisure diverged so much and why that wedge persisted so long. In this sense, explaining aggregate behavior during the period has been reduced to a public finance question - were actual government policies distorting behavior in the same direction and magnitude as government policies in the model?
Keyword: Depressions, Competitive equilibrium models, Taxes, and World War 2 Subject (JEL): H30 - Fiscal policies and behavior of economic agents - General, C68 - Mathematical methods and programming - Computable general equilibrium models, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles