nep-pub New Economics Papers
on Public Finance
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
six papers chosen by
Kwang Soo Cheong
Johns Hopkins University

  1. Behavioral Taxation: Opportunities and Challenges By Benno Torgler
  2. Behavioural responses to a wealth tax By Advani, Arun; Tarrant, Hannah
  3. Pensions, Income Taxes and Homeownership: A Cross-Country Analysis By Hans Fehr; Maurice Hofmann; George Kudrna
  4. Tax Policy and Aggregate Stability in an Overlapping Generations Model By Jang-Ting Guo; Yan Zhang
  5. Beyond Pigouvian Taxes: A Worst Case Analysis By Moshe Babaioff; Ruty Mundel; Noam Nisan
  6. Revenue and distributional modelling for a UK wealth tax By Advani, Arun; Hughson, Helen; Tarrant, Hannah

  1. By: Benno Torgler
    Abstract: The field of behavioral taxation dates back at least to the 1950s. In this contribution I will explore the opportunities and challenges in the area, with a particular focus on tax compliance. I will focus on the data required to make further progress, discussing what can be improved when working with surveys and how the fie ld could benefit from open government data initiatives. I focus on collaborative efforts among scientists as well as with the government or the tax administration and examine many potenti al areas of exploration. The opportunities currently emerging due to digitalization provide not only interesting avenues for collaborations but also a natural method of using tools such as lab and field experiments. In addition, I will discuss potential dangers faced by the field of behavioral economics that also threaten the field of behavioral taxation.
    Date: 2021–07
  2. By: Advani, Arun (University of Warwick, CAGE, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), and the LSE International Inequalities Institute (III)); Tarrant, Hannah (London School of Economics III)
    Abstract: In this paper, we review the existing empirical evidence on how individuals respond to the incentives created by a net wealth tax. Variation in the overall magnitude of behavioural responses is substantial: estimates of the elasticity of taxable wealth vary by a factor of 800. We explore three key reasons for this variation: tax design, context, and methodology. We then discuss what is known about the importance of individual margins of response and how these interact with policy choices. Finally, we use our analysis to systematically narrow down and reconcile the range of elasticity estimates. We argue that a well-designed wealth tax would reduce the tax base by 7-17% if levied at a tax rate of 1%.
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Hans Fehr; Maurice Hofmann; George Kudrna
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of pensions and income taxes in determining homeownership and household wealth. It provides a cross-country analysis, using tax and pension policy designs in Germany, the US and Australia. These developed nations have similar incomes per capita but very different homeownership rates, with the US and Australia having much higher homeownership compared to Germany. The question is to what extent the observed differences in homeownership are induced by national tax and transfer policies. To that end, we develop a stochastic, overlapping generations (OLG) model with tenure choice. The model is calibrated to Germany featuring German statutory public pension and dual income tax systems, and then applied to study the effects of alternative income tax and pension policy structures. Our simulation results indicate that the US and Australian policy designs have a dramatic impact on homeownership, explaining more than half of the observed differentials. We also show significant macroeconomic effects due to differences in tax and pension policies.
    Keywords: housing demand, social security, income taxation, stochastic general equilibrium
    JEL: R21 H55 H31 H24 C68
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Jang-Ting Guo (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside); Yan Zhang (Zhongnan University of Economics and Law)
    Abstract: In the context of a two-period non-monetary overlapping generations model with Cobb-Douglas preference and technological specifications, this paper explores the quantitative interrelations between equilibrium (in)determinacy versus (i) a progressive tax schedule on wage income and (ii) a balanced-budget rule with endogenous labor taxation. In sharp contrast to previous studies on a one-sector representative-agent macroeconomy, we find that both fiscal formulations are stabilizing instruments against cyclical fluctuations driven by agents' self-fulfilling beliefs. The key policy implication of our no-indeterminacy result is that depending on what is the underlying analytical environment, countercyclical income taxation may stabilize or destabilize the business cycle.
    Keywords: Tax Policy; Equilibrium Indeterminacy; Overlapping Generations Model.
    JEL: E32 E62
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Moshe Babaioff; Ruty Mundel; Noam Nisan
    Abstract: In the early $20^{th}$ century, Pigou observed that imposing a marginal cost tax on the usage of a public good induces a socially efficient level of use as an equilibrium. Unfortunately, such a "Pigouvian" tax may also induce other, socially inefficient, equilibria. We observe that this social inefficiency may be unbounded, and study whether alternative tax structures may lead to milder losses in the worst case, i.e. to a lower price of anarchy. We show that no tax structure leads to bounded losses in the worst case. However, we do find a tax scheme that has a lower price of anarchy than the Pigouvian tax, obtaining tight lower and upper bounds in terms of a crucial parameter that we identify. We generalize our results to various scenarios that each offers an alternative to the use of a public road by private cars, such as ride sharing, or using a bus or a train.
    Date: 2021–07
  6. By: Advani, Arun (University of Warwick, CAGE, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), and the LSE International Inequalities Institute (III)); Hughson, Helen (London School of Economics III); Tarrant, Hannah (London School of Economics III)
    Abstract: In this paper we model the revenue that could be raised from an annual and a one-off wealth tax of the design recommended by Advani, Chamberlain and Summers (2020b). We examine the distributional effects of the tax, both in terms of wealth and other characteristics. We also estimate the share of taxpayers who would face liquidity constraints in meeting their tax liability. We find that an annual wealth tax charging 0.17% on wealth above £500,000 could generate £10 billion in revenue, before administrative costs. Alternatively, a one-off tax charging 4.8% (effectively 0.95% per year, paid over a five-year period) on wealth above the same threshold, would generate £250 billion in revenue. To put our revenue estimates into context, we present revenue estimates and costings for some commonly-proposed reforms to the existing set of taxes on capital.
    Date: 2021

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