Replacing the U.S. Income Tax with a Progressive Consumption Tax: A Sequenced General Equilibrium Approach

35 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2007

See all articles by Don Fullerton

Don Fullerton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John B. Shoven

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI)

Date Written: May 1982

Abstract

This paper examines the welfare consequences of changing the current U.S. income tax system to a progressive consumption tax. We compute a sequence of single period equilibria in which savings decisions depend on the expected future return to capital. In the presence of existing income taxes, the U.S. economy is assumed to lie on a balanced growth path. With the change to a consumption tax, individuals save more and initially consume less. As the capital stock grows, consumption eventually overtakes that of the original path, and the economy approaches the new balanced growth path with higher consumption and a greater capital stock. Both the transition and the balanced growth paths enter our welfare evaluations. We find that the discounted present value of the stream of net gains is approximately $650 billion in 1973 dollars, just over one percent of the discounted present value of national income. Larger gains occur if further reform of capital income taxation accompanies the change. We examine the sensitivity of the results, both to the design of the consumption tax and to the values of elasticity and other parameters. The paper also contains estimates of the time required to adjust from one growth path to the other.

Suggested Citation

Fullerton, Don and Shoven, John B. and Whalley, John, Replacing the U.S. Income Tax with a Progressive Consumption Tax: A Sequenced General Equilibrium Approach (May 1982). NBER Working Paper No. w0892. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=351416

Don Fullerton (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
(217) 244-3621 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

John B. Shoven

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-326-5377 (Phone)
650-328-4163 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-3509, ext. 83509 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

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