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NBER Working Paper Series

Опубликовано на портале: 03-05-2005
Emmanuel Saez NBER Working Paper Series. 2002.  No. 8833.
Optimal tax theory has shown that, under weak assumptions, indirect taxation such as production subsidies, tariffs, or differentiated commodity taxation, are sub-optimal and that redistribution should be achieved solely with the direct income tax. However, these important results of optimal tax theory, namely production efficiency and uniform commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation, have been shown to break down when labor taxation is based on income only and when there is imperfect substitution of labor types in the production function. These results in favor of indirect tax instruments are valid in the short-run when skills are exogenous and individuals cannot move from occupation to occupation. In the long-run, it is more realistic to assume that individuals choose their occupation based on the relative after-tax rewards. This paper shows that, in that context, production efficiency and the uniform commodity tax result are restored. Therefore, in a long-run context, direct income taxation should be preferred to indirect tax instruments to raise revenue and achieve redistribution.
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Опубликовано на портале: 19-10-2004
Daniel R. Feenberg, James Michael Poterba NBER Working Paper Series. 1993.  No. 4229.
This paper uses tax return data for the period 1951-1990 to investigate the rising share of adjusted gross income (AGI) that is reported on very high income tax returns. We find that most of the increase in the share of AGI reported by high-income taxpayers is due to an increase in reported income for the one quarter of one percent of taxpayers with the highest AGIs. The share of total AGI reported by these taxpayers rose slowly in the early 1980s, and increased sharply in 1987 and 1988. This pattern suggests that at least part of the increase in the income share of high-AGI taxpayers was due to the changing tax incentives that were enacted in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. By lowering marginal tax rates on top-income households from 50% to 28%, TRA86 reduced the incentive for these households to engage in tax avoidance activities. We also find substantial differences in the growth of the income share of the highest one quarter of one percent of taxpayers, and the share of other very high income taxpayers. This suggests that the increasing inequality of reported incomes at very high levels may not be driven by the same factors that have generated widening wage inequality throughout the income distribution and over a longer time period.
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Опубликовано на портале: 03-05-2005
Emmanuel Saez NBER Working Paper Series. 2005.  No. 9046.
This paper analyzes optimal progressive capital income taxation in an infinite horizon model where individuals differ only through their initial wealth. We show that, in that context, progressive taxation is a much more powerful and efficient tool to redistribute wealth than linear taxation on which previous literature has focused. We consider progressive capital income tax schedules taking a simple two-bracket form with an exemption bracket at the bottom and a single marginal tax rate above a time varying exemption threshold. Individuals are taxed until their wealth is reduced down to the exemption threshold. When the intertemportal elasticity of substitution is not too large and the top tail of the initial wealth distribution is infinite and thick enough, the optimal exemption threshold converges to a finite limit. As a result, the optimal tax system drives all the large fortunes down a finite level and produces a truncated long-run wealth distribution. A number of numerical simulations illustrate the theoretical result.
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Опубликовано на портале: 14-03-2005
David E. Bloom, David Canning, Jaypee Sevilla NBER Working Paper Series. 2001.  No. 8587.
Macroeconomists acknowledge the contribution of human capital to economic growth, but their empirical studies define human capital solely in terms of schooling. In this paper, we extend production function models of economic growth to account for two additional variables that microeconomists have identified as fundamental components of human capital: work experience and health. Our main result is that good health has a positive, sizable, and statistically significant effect on aggregate output. We find little variation across countries in average work experience, thus differentials in work experience account for little variation in rates of economic growth. Finally, we find that the effects of average schooling on national output are consistent with microeconomic estimates of the effects of individual schooling on earnings, suggesting that education creates no discernible externalities.
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Опубликовано на портале: 03-05-2005
Emmanuel Saez NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 8037.
This paper analyzes the optimal treatment of tax expenditures. It develops an optimal tax model where individuals derive utility from spending on a contribution' good such as charitable giving. The contribution good has also a public good effect on all individuals in the economy. The government imposes linear taxes on earnings and on the contribution good so as to maximize welfare. The government may also finance directly the contribution good out of tax revenue. Optimal tax and subsidy rates on earnings and the contribution good are expressed in terms of empirically estimable parameters and the redistributive tastes of the government. The optimal subsidy on the contribution good is increasing in the size of the price elasticity of contributions, the size of the crowding-out effect of public contributions on private contributions, and the size of the public good effect of the contribution good. Numerical simulations show that the optimal subsidy on contributions is fairly sensitive to the size of these parameters but that, in most cases, it should be lower than the earnings tax rate.
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