The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States: Reply to Jentsch and Lunsford
In this reply to a comment by Jentsch and Lunsford, we show that, when focusing on the relevant impulse responses, the evidence for economic and statistically significant macroeconomic effects of tax changes in Mertens and Ravn (2013) remains present for a range of asymptotically valid inference methods.
Better Bunching, Nicer Notching
We study the bunching identification strategy for an elasticity parameter that summarizes agents' response to changes in slope (kink) or intercept (notch) of a schedule of incentives. A notch identifies the elasticity but a kink does not, when the distribution of agents is fully flexible. We propose new non-parametric and semi-parametric identification assumptions on the distribution of agents that are weaker than assumptions currently made in the literature. We revisit the original empirical application of the bunching estimator and find that our weaker identification assumptions result in ...
Metropolitan Area Home Prices and the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Estimates and Simulations from Policy Change
We simulate changes to metropolitan area home prices from reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). Price simulations are based on an extended user cost model that incorporates two dimensions of behavioral change in home buyers: sensitivity of borrowing and the propensity to use tax deductions. We simulate prices with both inelastic and elastic supply. Our results show a wide range of price effects across metropolitan areas and prospective policies. Considering behavioral change and no supply elasticity, eliminating the MID results in average home price declines as steep as 13.5 ...
Bunching Estimation of Elasticities Using Stata
A continuous distribution of agents that face a piecewise-linear schedule of incentives results in a distribution of responses with mass points located where the slope (kink) or intercept (notch) of the schedule changes. Bunching methods use these mass points to estimate an elasticity parameter, which summarizes agents' responses to incentives. This article introduces the command bunching, which implements new non-parametric and semi-parametric identification methods for estimating elasticities developed by Bertanha et al. (2021). These methods rely on weaker assumptions than currently made ...
Whose Child Is This? Shifting of Dependents Among EITC Claimants Within the Same Household
Using a panel of household level tax data, we estimate the degree to which dependents are "reassigned" between tax units within households, and how these reassignments affect combined tax liabilities. Reassigning dependents reduces combined tax liabilities on average, suggesting some household level coordination. Additionally, when EITC benefits expanded in 2009, reassignments increasingly involved adding a third child to tax returns to claim these new benefits. However, the subgroup reassigning towards three child tax units actually increased total household tax liabilities, suggesting that ...
The Macroeconomic Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
This paper studies the macroeconomic effects of seven key TCJA provisions, including the tax cuts for individuals and businesses, the bonus depreciation of equipment, the amortization of R&D expenses, and the limits on interest deductibility. I use a dynamic general equilibrium model with interest deductibility and accelerated depreciation. I find that, initially, the tax reform had a small positive impact on output and investment. In the medium term, however, the effect on output will diminish, and the effect on investment will turn negative. The tax reform will depress investment in R&D. ...
Are income taxes destined to rise? the fiscal imbalance and future tax policy
We present a model of optimizing government behavior in which a need for increased revenue leads to the introduction of a new revenue source, such as a VAT, accompanied by a reduction in income taxes. We argue that this is a plausible outcome for the United States, in view of international experience and recent fiscal reform proposals, and has important implications for individual investment decisions.
Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Mortality
Using a heterogeneous-agent, life-cycle model of Social Security claiming, labor supply and saving, we consider the implications of lifespan inequality for Social Security reform. Quantitative experiments show that welfare is maximized when baseline benefits are independent of lifetime earnings, the payroll tax cap is kept roughly unchanged, and claiming adjustments are reduced. Eliminating the earnings test and the income taxation of Social Security benefits provides additional gains. The Social Security system that would maximize welfare in a "2050 demographics" scenario, characterized by ...
Politicians Avoid Tax Increases Around Elections
We use new annual data on gasoline taxes and corporate income taxes from U.S. states to analyze whether politicians avoid tax increases in election years. These data contain 3 useful attributes: (1) when state politicians enact tax laws, (2) when state politicians implement tax laws on consumers and firms, and (3) the size of tax changes. Using a pre-analysis research plan that includes regressions of tax rate changes and tax enactment years on time-to-gubernatorial election year indicators, we find that elections decrease the probability of politicians enacting increases in taxes and reduce ...
Labor-dependent capital income taxation that encourages work and saving
This paper proposes a simple mechanism of capital taxation that is negatively correlated with labor supply. Using a life-cycle model of heterogeneous agents, I show that this tax scheme provides a strong work incentive when households possess large assets and high productivity later in the life cycle, when they would otherwise work less. This reformed system also adds to the saving motive and raises aggregate capital. Moreover, the increased economic activities expand the tax base, and the revenue-neutral reform results in a lower average tax rate. My findings show that this tax scheme ...