مالیات بر املاک و نابرابری درآمد مادام العمر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|7369||2010||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Economic Modelling, Volume 27, Issue 3, May 2010, Pages 613–619
This paper constructs a heterogeneous, intertemporal general equilibrium framework which integrates both intended and unintended bequest motives to examine the long-run effects of an estate tax on the inequality of lifetime income. The results are ambiguous in general and sensitive to the type of transfer motive involved. We find that in the purely intended bequest case, an estate tax increases the steady-state inequality of net lifetime income in the case where people's elasticity of intertemporal substitution is greater than one. However, in the purely unintended bequest case, the effect of an estate tax on inequality is dependent on the probability of survival.
The subject of an estate and gift tax has been controversial for a very long time. Even today, some people propose to reduce or even abolish the taxation, while others suggest expanding and increasing it. Indeed, bequest and inheritance are potentially important factors responsible for income inequality and economic welfare. The proponents of estate and gift taxation advocate that the imposition can mitigate the unfairness of inheritance and thus the inequality of lifetime income. As Gale and Slemrod (2001) claimed, estate and gift taxes are originally viewed as a counterweight to an undue concentration of wealth. The literature has examined the impacts of bequest and the redistribution effect of estate taxation mostly under a specific assumption about the types of bequest motive. For example, Becker & Tomes, 1979 and Tomes, 1981 supported the altruist motive and showed that intergenerational transfers affect the regression to the mean in earnings. In a neoclassical, general equilibrium model with altruistic agents, Laitner (2001) simulated the redistribution effect of the taxation and found that eliminating the U.S. estate and gift tax increases the inequality of long-run wealth distribution. Except for an intentional motive like altruism, the literature has also considered unintentional bequest motive. Each possible motive gains support from some empirical research studies. For example, Hurd (1987) compared the wealth difference between old families with children and without children, reaching a conclusion that most bequests are accidental. By contrast, Menchick & David, 1983 and Bernheim, 1991 reported that bequests are intentional. Of the intentional motives, Altonji et al., 1997 and Laitner & Ohlsson, 2001 demonstrated that intergenerational transfers are partially motivated by altruism. Different motives for intergenerational transfer lead to different implications for public policy. As Gale and Perozek (2001) showed, the effects of an estate and gift tax on savings depend in a significant way on transfer motives. Therefore, we believe that transfer motives also play a crucial role in the redistribution effects of an estate and gift tax. Unfortunately, neither motive passed through all tests of previous research studies. The motives for some households to transfer resources across generations may actually be mixed. Accordingly, it is essential and desirable to develop a systematic and unified framework allowing for both intended and unintended bequests in order to assess the redistribution effects of an estate and gift tax. This study adopts the general equilibrium approach. As shown by Gale and Perozek (2001), an estate tax definitely affects savings. Once the tax reduces savings and capital accumulation in an economy, the prices of production factors change further. This means that the imposition of an estate tax on the one hand changes the intergenerational transfer of wealth, and on the other hand changes the path of capital accumulation and thus the shares of factor income. Both changes in turn affect the steady-state income inequality. Therefore, ignoring the impacts on factor prices in the long run may produce misleading results of a policy's evaluation. This is the reason why Stiglitz (1978) argued that the general equilibrium effects should be taken into account. For many countries, there is another important tax in place: the income tax. In the literature the appropriate roles of these two taxes are contentious. For example, Gale and Slemrod (2001) claimed that an estate tax serves as a backstop to the income tax, taxing the income sources which leak out from the income tax. Kaplow (2001) suggested that the income tax should take the major responsibility of redistribution. Cremer and Pestieau (2001) pointed out that under an altruistic model, a well-designed estate tax from a normative standpoint has its role in redistribution. This paper integrates the income tax and estate tax in a framework to investigate and distinguish their effects. In a heterogeneous, overlapping, general equilibrium model, we find that a proportional estate tax has a redistribution effect in the long run, while a proportional income tax has no influence in the inequality of steady-state distribution. In particular, when people are altruistic in the case of certainty, estate taxation definitely increases the inequality of steady-state income, if people's intertemporal substitution is elastic. This undesirable result obviously contradicts the common recognition. This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the model which consists of an individual's behaviors of savings and intergenerational transfers, and the production side of the economy as well. The steady state is solved further. Section 3 analyzes the welfare effects of an estate tax and income tax, respectively. Numerical simulations are carried out to obtain more insight. Section 4 contains conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Proposals to alter the estate tax have been continuous and contentious. The main controversy comes from the redistribution effect of the tax. Advocates assert that its imposition improves income distribution. Especially, they accentuate its redistribution role with respect to bequeathed income which has nothing to do with the heirs' efforts. Opponents argue that the inefficiency cost of the tax cannot be ignored. The variety of bequest motives makes the issue even more complicated. This paper constructs a heterogeneous, intertemporal general equilibrium framework which integrates intended and unintended bequest motives to examine the long-run effects of an estate tax on the inequality of lifetime income. It reveals that an estate tax, as a symbol of fairness, has a real, but ambiguous effect on inequality. Moreover, the results are sensitive to the type of transfer motive involved. We also find that overlooking the impact of the change in factor prices caused by the imposition of an estate tax will obtain very different results about the redistribution effect. The important result we are certain of is that in the purely intended case, an estate tax will increase the steady-state inequality of net lifetime income for the case where people's elasticity of intertemporal substitution is greater than one, rather than what we expect to decrease. For some parametric specifications, we find that facing lifetime uncertainty, if people have inelastic intertemporal substitution, then estate taxation may decrease the steady-state inequality. In addition, when individuals leave bequests purely by accident, the effect of an estate tax on inequality depends on the probability of survival. The higher the probability of survival is, the less the income transmitted will be across generations, and thus the more likely the estate tax will decrease the inequality. These results indicate that the precise identification of transfer motives is relevant for tax reform. In this paper we also study the welfare effect of an income tax. The proportional income tax is shown to reduce the average net lifetime income in the steady state, but does not affect the inequality once the factor prices are allowed to change. Even though this study is heuristic, it is a solid step toward assessing the welfare effects of these taxes in a systematic approach. In addition, it also provides the foundation for further policy evaluation, especially on the optimal structure of taxation.