Macroeconomic Effects of Capital Tax Rate Changes
70 Pages Posted: 24 May 2022
Date Written: May 1, 2022
We study aggregate, distributional, and welfare effects of a permanent reduction in the capital tax rate in a quantitative model with capital-skill complementarity and household heterogeneity. Such a tax reform leads to expansionary long-run aggregate output and investment effects, but those are coupled with increases in wage, consumption, and income inequality. The tax reform is not self-financing and its effects depend crucially on whether the government cuts lump-sum transfers or raises distortionary labor or consumption tax rates for financing. The former results in a larger aggregate expansion, but at the expense of a greater rise in inequality. As a result, the latter is relatively more beneficial for unskilled households. We find that the tax reform, when the consumption tax rate adjusts, leads to a Pareto improvement in terms of life-time welfare. For transition dynamics, monetary policy, in addition to the fiscal adjustments, matters. In particular, if monetary policy inflates away a portion of the public debt, the economy can avoid the short-run contraction that would arise otherwise.
Keywords: Capital tax rate, Distortionary financing, Capital-skill complementarity, Inequality, Welfare implications
JEL Classification: E62, E63, E52, E58, E31
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