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Welfare-improving Consumption Tax in the Presence of a Wage Tax under Idiosyncratic Returns from Investment and Incomplete Markets

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In a standard multiperiod model, consumption tax and wage tax are equivalent. I show that when a capital market is incomplete – in the sense that the rates of return from risky investments are idiosyncratic and there is no insurance for such idiosyncratic risk – the introduction of a consumption tax in the presence of a wage tax improves welfare. This holds true even in the presence of optimal or nonoptimal capital income taxes. In the general-equilibrium model, the optimal level of the consumption tax is determined to balance the benefits of the risk-sharing effect and the asset accumulation effect against the costs of postponing government revenue to later periods.
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Keywords: CONSUMPTION TAX; INCOMPLETE CAPITAL MARKET; OPTIMAL TAXATION; RISK SHARING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2018

This article was made available online on 11 June 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Welfare-improving Consumption Tax in the Presence of a Wage Tax under Idiosyncratic Returns from Investment and Incomplete Markets".

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  • As one of the world's oldest professional journals in public finance, founded in 1884, FinanzArchiv (FA) publishes original work from all fields of public economics which are of interest to an international readership, e.g. taxation, public debt, public goods, public choice, federalism, market failure, social policy, and the welfare state. Special emphasis is on high-quality theoretical and empirical papers on current policy issues.

    FA is a peer-reviewed journal commited to a prompt turnaround of submissions.

    FA is listed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences, in Econ Lit, in the Journal of Economic Literature, in IDEAS and RePEc and in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences.

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