Taxing consumption in unequal economies

Taxing consumption in unequal economies

Series: Working Papers. 2331.

Author: Patrick Macnamara, Myroslav Pidkuyko and Raffaele Rossi.

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This paper shows that linear consumption taxes are a powerful tool to implement efficient redistribution. We derive this result in a quantitative life-cycle model that reproduces the distribution of income and wealth in the United States. Optimal policy calls for raising all fiscal revenues from consumption, and providing redistribution via a highly progressive wage tax schedule. Capital income and wealth should not be taxed. This policy reduces inequality and increases productivity, and brings large welfare gains relative to the status quo. Around two-thirds of these gains are due to redistribution. Finally, our reform is also welfare improving in the short-run.

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