Optimal Progressivity with Age-Dependent Taxation

77 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2019

See all articles by Jonathan Heathcote

Jonathan Heathcote

Minneapolis Fed

Kjetil Storesletten

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Giovanni Violante

Princeton University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2019


This paper studies optimal taxation of earnings when the degree of tax progressivity is allowed to vary with age. The setting is an overlapping-generations model that incorporates irreversible skill investment, flexible labor supply, ex-ante heterogeneity in the disutility of work and the cost of skill acquisition, partially insurable wage risk, and a life cycle productivity profile. An analytically tractable version of the model without intertemporal trade is used to characterize and quantify the salient trade-offs in tax design. The key results are that progressivity should be U-shaped in age and that the average marginal tax rate should be increasing and concave in age. These findings are confirmed in a version of the model with borrowing and saving that we solve numerically.

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Suggested Citation

Heathcote, Jonathan and Storesletten, Kjetil and Violante, Giovanni, Optimal Progressivity with Age-Dependent Taxation (February 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25617, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3346263

Jonathan Heathcote (Contact Author)

Minneapolis Fed ( email )

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Kjetil Storesletten

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
+47 2284 4009 (Phone)
+47 2285 5035 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://folk.uio.no/kjstore/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Giovanni Violante

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

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