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Jel Classification:H24 

Working Paper
Capital Income Taxation with Housing

This paper quantitatively investigates capital income taxation in the general-equilibrium overlap-ping generations model with household heterogeneity and housing. Housing tax policy is found to affect how capital income should be taxed, due to substitution between housing and non-housing capital. Given the existing U.S. preferential tax treatment for owner-occupied housing, the optimal capital income tax rate is close to zero (1%), contrary to the high optimal capital income tax rate found with overlapping generations models without housing. A low capital income tax rate improves welfare by ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-02

Working Paper
A quantitative analysis of the u.s. housing and mortgage markets and the foreclosure crisis

We present a model of long-duration collateralized debt with risk of default. Applied to the housing market, it can match the homeownership rate, the average foreclosure rate, and the lower tail of the distribution of home-equity ratios across homeowners prior to the recent crisis. We stress the role of favorable tax treatment of housing in matching these facts. We then use the model to account for the foreclosure crisis in terms of three shocks: overbuilding, financial frictions, and foreclosure delays. The financial friction shock accounts for much of the decline in house prices, while the ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-13

Working Paper
Young Unskilled Women and the Earned Income Tax Credit: Insurance Without Disincentives?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the single most important transfer program in place in the United States. An aspect of the EITC that has received little attention thus far is its role as a public insurance program. Yet, the structure of the EITC necessarily protects its primary class of recipients, unskilled single mothers, against major risks they face to both wages and changes in family structure. Our study provides the first quantitative statement about the insurance provided by the EITC. We study a dynamic model of consumption, savings, and labor supply in which households face ...
Working Paper , Paper 14-11

Working Paper
The Effects of Collecting Income Taxes on Social Security Benefits

Since 1983, Social Security benefits have been subject to income taxation, a provision that can significantly increase the marginal income tax rate for older individuals. To assess the impact of this tax, we construct and calibrate a detailed life-cycle model of labor supply, saving, and Social Security claiming. We find that in a long-run stationary environment, replacing the taxation of Social Security benefits with a revenue-equivalent increase in the payroll tax would significantly increase labor supply, consumption and welfare. From an ex-ante perspective an even more desirable reform ...
Working Paper , Paper 17-2

Briefing
Asymmetric responses to tax-induced changes in personal income: the 2013 payroll tax hike versus anticipated 2012 tax refunds

As part of the Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition's free tax preparation service offered at the Boston Roxbury Resource Center between January and April 2013, 945 low-to-moderate income individuals were asked about payroll tax changes, financial planning, and their personal characteristics. Using these survey responses, the authors calculated how these individuals planned to respond to the payroll tax hike and their tax refund. The results show that their marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of the tax refund is 30 percentage points lower than their spending reaction to the tax ...
Public Policy Brief

Working Paper
Estimating the Intergenerational Elasticity and Rank Association in the U.S.: Overcoming the Current Limitations of Tax Data

Ideal estimates of the intergenerational elasticity (IGE) in income require a large panel of income data covering the entire working lifetimes for two generations. Previous studies have demonstrated that using short panels and covering only certain portions of the life cycle can lead to considerable bias. A recent influential study by Chetty et al. (2014) using tax data estimates the IGE in family income for the entire U.S. to be 0.344, considerably lower than most previous estimates. Despite the seeming advantages of extremely large samples of administrative tax data, I demonstrate that the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2015-4

Working Paper
Evaluating the Success of President Johnson's War on Poverty: Revisiting the Historical Record Using a Full-Income Poverty Measure

We evaluate progress in President's Johnson's War on Poverty. We do so relative to the scientifically arbitrary but policy relevant 20 percent baseline poverty rate he established for 1963. No existing poverty measure fully captures poverty reductions based on the standard that President Johnson set. To fill this gap, we develop a Full-income Poverty Measure with thresholds set to match the 1963 Official Poverty Rate. We include cash income, taxes, and major in-kind transfers and update poverty thresholds for inflation annually. While the Official Poverty Rate fell from 19.5 percent in 1963 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-011

Working Paper
Income and Earnings Mobility in U.S. Tax Data

We use a large panel of federal income tax data to investigate intragenerational income mobility in the United States. We have two primary objectives. First, we explore the determinants of two-year changes in individual labor earnings and family incomes, such as job or industry changes, marriage, divorce, and geographic mobility. Second, we evaluate how federal income taxes stabilize or destabilize post-tax income changes relative to pre-tax changes. We find a relatively high degree of income mobility, with almost half of workers exhibiting earnings increases or decreases of at least 25 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-61

Working Paper
Household Incomes in Tax Data : Using Addresses to Move from Tax Unit to Household Income Distributions

Tax return data are increasingly the standard for tracking income statistics in the United States. However, these data have traditionally been limited by their inability to capture non-filers and to identify members of separate tax units living in the same household. We overcome these obstacles and create household records directly in the tax data using mailing address information included on tax forms. We then present the first set of tax-based household income and inequality measures for the entire income distribution. When comparing household income inequality results in the tax data to ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-002

Working Paper
Changes in the Distribution of After-Tax Wealth: Has Income Tax Policy Increased Wealth Inequality?

A substantial share of the wealth of Americans is held in tax-deferred form such as in retirement accounts or as unrealized capital gains. Most data and statistics on assets and wealth is reported on a pre-tax basis, but pre-tax values include an implicit tax liability and may not provide as accurate a measure of the financial position or material well-being of families. In this paper, we describe the distribution of tax-deferred assets in the SCF from 1989 to 2013, provide new estimates of the income tax liabilities implicit in those assets, and present new statistics on the level and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-58

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