High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%?

CFS Working Paper No. 473

54 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2014

See all articles by Fabian Kindermann

Fabian Kindermann

University of Regensburg; Netspar

Dirk Krueger

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: October 5, 2014


In this paper we argue that very high marginal labor income tax rates are an effective tool for social insurance even when households have preferences with high labor supply elasticity, make dynamic savings decisions, and policies have general equilibrium effects. To make this point we construct a large scale Overlapping Generations Model with uninsurable labor productivity risk, show that it has a wealth distribution that matches the data well, and then use it to characterize fiscal policies that achieve a desired degree of redistribution in society. We find that marginal tax rates on the top 1% of the earnings distribution of close to 90% are optimal. We document that this result is robust to plausible variation in the labor supply elasticity and holds regardless of whether social welfare is measured at the steady state only or includes transitional generations.

Keywords: Progressive Taxation, Top 1%, Social Insurance, Income Inequality

JEL Classification: E62, H21, H24

Suggested Citation

Kindermann, Fabian and Krueger, Dirk, High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%? (October 5, 2014). CFS Working Paper No. 473, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2507167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2507167

Fabian Kindermann

University of Regensburg ( email )

Universitaetsstrasse 31
D-93040 Regensburg

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

Dirk Krueger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-6691 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.upenn.edu/~dkrueger/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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