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On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code

Author: Juan Carlos Conesa; Dirk Krueger; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2005.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 11044.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"This paper computes the optimal progressivity of the income tax code in a dynamic general equilibrium model with household heterogeneity in which uninsurable labor productivity risk gives rise to a nontrivial income and wealth distribution. A progressive tax system serves as a partial substitute for missing insurance markets and enhances an equal distribution of economic welfare. These beneficial effects of a  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Juan Carlos Conesa; Dirk Krueger; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 57445695
Notes: January 2005.
Description: 1 online resource (25 pages) : color illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 11044.
Responsibility: Juan Carlos Conesa, Dirk Krueger.

Abstract:

"This paper computes the optimal progressivity of the income tax code in a dynamic general equilibrium model with household heterogeneity in which uninsurable labor productivity risk gives rise to a nontrivial income and wealth distribution. A progressive tax system serves as a partial substitute for missing insurance markets and enhances an equal distribution of economic welfare. These beneficial effects of a progressive tax system have to be traded off against the efficiency loss arising from distorting endogenous labor supply and capital accumulation decisions. Using a utilitarian steady state social welfare criterion we find that the optimal US income tax is well approximated by a flat tax rate of 17.2% and a fixed deduction of about $9,400. The steady state welfare gains from a fundamental tax reform towards this tax system are equivalent to 1.7% higher consumption in each state of the world. An explicit computation of the transition path induced by a reform of the current towards the optimal tax system indicates that a majority of the population currently alive (roughly 62%) would experience welfare gains, suggesting that such fundamental income tax reform is not only desirable, but may also be politically feasible"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site.

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