Optimal Taxes on Capital in the OLG Model with Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Income Risk

82 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018

See all articles by Dirk Krueger

Dirk Krueger

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

Alexander Ludwig

Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE; University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences

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Date Written: February 9, 2018

Abstract

We characterize the optimal linear tax on capital in an Overlapping Generations model with two period lived households facing uninsurable idiosyncratic labor income risk. The Ramsey government internalizes the general equilibrium feedback of private precautionary saving. For logarithmic utility our full analytical solution of the Ramsey problem shows that the optimal aggregate saving rate is independent of income risk. The optimal time-invariant tax on capital is increasing in income risk. Its sign depends on the extent of risk and on the Pareto weight of future generations. If the Ramsey tax rate that maximizes steady state utility is positive, then implementing this tax rate permanently generates a Pareto-improving transition even if the initial equilibrium is dynamically efficient. We generalize our results to Epstein-Zin-Weil utility and show that the optimal steady state saving rate is increasing in income risk if and only if the intertemporal elasticity of substitution is smaller than 1.

Keywords: Idiosyncratic Risk, Taxation of Capital, Overlapping Generations, Precautionary Saving, Pecuniary Externality

JEL Classification: H21, H31, E21

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Dirk and Ludwig, Alexander, Optimal Taxes on Capital in the OLG Model with Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Income Risk (February 9, 2018). SAFE Working Paper No. 201. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3124792 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3124792

Dirk Krueger

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)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Alexander Ludwig (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE ( email )

(http://www.safe-frankfurt.de)
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, D-50923
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiso.uni-koeln.de/cmr/alexludwig

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