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Jel Classification:D52 

Working Paper
The Piketty Transition
We study the effects on inequality of a "Piketty transition" to zero growth. In a model with a worker-capitalist dichotomy, we show first that the relationship between inequality (measured as a ratio of incomes for the two types) and growth is complicated; zero growth can raise or lower inequality, depending on parameters. Extending our model to include idiosyncratic wage risk we show that growth has quantitatively negligible effects on inequality, and the effect is negative. Finally, following Piketty?s thought experiment, we study how the transition might occur without declining returns; here, we find inequality decreases substantially if financial innovation acts to reduce idiosyncratic return risk, and does not change much at all if it acts to increase capital?s share of income.
AUTHORS: Carroll, Daniel R.; Young, Eric R.
DATE: 2014-12-03

Working Paper
Mobility
This paper studies short-run wealth mobility in a heterogeneous agents, incomplete-markets model. Wealth mobility has a ?hump-shaped? relationship with the persistence of the stochastic process governing labor income: low when shocks are close to i.i.d. or close to a random walk, and higher in between. The standard incomplete markets framework features less wealth mobility than found in the PSID wealth supplements. We include features commonly used in the literature to capture wealth inequality and find that they do little to improve the model?s performance for wealth mobility. Finally, we introduce state-contingent assets, which allow households to partially span the space of labor productivity. Moving toward a more ?complete? market lowers wealth mobility unless the labor income process is very persistent.
AUTHORS: Young, Eric R.; Carroll, Daniel R.
DATE: 2016-12-23

Working Paper
Majority Voting: A Quantitative Investigation
We study the tax systems that arise in a once-and-for-all majority voting equilibrium embedded within a macroeconomic model of inequality. We find that majority voting delivers (i) a small set of outcomes, (ii) zero labor income taxation, and (iii) nearly zero transfers. We find that majority voting, contrary to the literature developed in models without idiosyncratic risk, is quite powerful at restricting outcomes; however, it also delivers predictions inconsistent with observed tax systems.
AUTHORS: Dolmas, James; Carroll, Daniel R.; Young, Eric R.
DATE: 2015-01-07

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes
We study the political determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. There is significant variation in preferred tax policy across the wealth and income distribution. The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) essentially zero transfers. This policy is supported by a coalition of low- and middle-wealth households. Zero labor income taxation is supported by households with below average wealth, while the middle-wealth households prefer to keep the transfer (and thus other tax rates) low. We also show that the outcome is sensitive to assumptions about the voting power of household groups, the degree of wealth and income mobility, and the forward-looking nature of votes.
AUTHORS: Dolmas, James; Young, Eric R.; Carroll, Daniel R.
DATE: 2019-09-25

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes
We study the determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. Our first result is that, despite the multidimensional policy space, equilibrium policies are typically unique (up to a fine grid numerical approximation). The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) generally low transfers. We discuss the role of three factors?the initial heterogeneity in sources of income, the mobility of income and wealth, and the forward-looking aspect of voting?in determining the equilibrium mix of taxes.
AUTHORS: Carroll, Daniel R.; Young, Eric R.; Dolmas, James
DATE: 2017-09-06

Working Paper
Neoclassical Inequality
In a model with a worker-capitalist dichotomy, we show that the relationship between inequality (measured as a ratio of incomes for the two types) and growth is complicated; zero growth generally lowers inequality, except under extreme parameterizations. In particular, the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in production needs to be considerably greater than 1 in order for income inequality be higher with zero growth. If this condition is not met, factor prices adjust strongly causing the fall in the return to capital (the rise in wages) to reduce income inequality. Our results extend to models with endogenous growth.
AUTHORS: Young, Eric R.; Carroll, Daniel R.
DATE: 2017-09-06

Working Paper
Optimal taxation and debt with uninsurable risks to human capital accumulation
We consider an economy where individuals face uninsurable risks to their human capital accumulation and study the problem of determining the optimal level of linear taxes on capital and labor income together with the optimal path of the debt level. We show both analytically and numerically that in the presence of such risks it is beneficial to tax both labor and capital income and to have positive government debt.
AUTHORS: Gottardi, Piero; Kajii, Atsushi; Nakajima, Tomoyuki
DATE: 2014-11-01

Working Paper
Constrained inefficiency and optimal taxation with uninsurable risks
When individuals' labor and capital income are subject to uninsurable idiosyncratic risks, should capital and labor be taxed, and if so, how? In a two-period general equilibrium model with production, we derive a decomposition formula of the welfare effects of these taxes into insurance and distribution effects. This method allows us to determine how the sign of the optimal taxes on capital and labor depends on the nature of the shocks, the degree of heterogeneity among consumers' income, and the way in which the tax revenue is used to provide lump sum transfers to consumers. When shocks affect primarily labor income and heterogeneity is small, the optimal tax on capital is positive. However, in other cases, a negative tax on capital improves welfare.
AUTHORS: Gottardi, Piero; Kajii, Atsushi; Nakajima, Tomoyuki
DATE: 2014-11-01

Working Paper
Optimal Time-Consistent Taxation with Default
We study optimal time-consistent distortionary taxation when the repayment of government debt is not enforceable. The government taxes labor income or issues noncontingent debt in order to finance an exogenous stream of stochastic government expenditures. The government can repudiate its debt subject to some default costs, thereby introducing some state-contingency to debt. We are motivated by the fact that domestic sovereign default is an empirically relevant phenomenon, as Reinhart and Rogoff (2011) demonstrated. Optimal policy is characterized by two opposing incentives: an incentive to postpone taxes by issuing more debt for the future and an incentive to tax more currently in order to avoid punishing default premia. A generalized Euler equation (GEE) captures these two effects and determines the optimal back-loading or front-loading of tax distortions.
AUTHORS: Karantounias, Anastasios G.
DATE: 2017-11-01

Report
Appendix for Financial Frictions and Fluctuations in Volatility
This appendix contains five sections. Section 1 provides details for the comparative statics exercise performed in the simple example. Section 2 discusses extending the model to allow firms to default on the wages for managers. Section 3 describes the firm-level and aggregate data. Section 4 contains the details of the computational algorithm. Finally, Section 5 reports the results for our model with a lower labor elasticity.
AUTHORS: Kehoe, Patrick J.; Bai, Yan; Arellano, Cristina
DATE: 2017-01-24

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