DP16226 REDISTRIBUTIVE TAXATION WITH SKILL BIASED TECHNOLOGIES

Author(s): Pietro Reichlin
Publication Date: June 2021
Keyword(s): Dynamic optimal taxation
JEL(s): E21, E62, H2, H21
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16226

I study the optimal redistributive tax structure on capital and labor in a version of the Judd (1985)'s model supplemented by skill biased technology and perfect correlation between skills and wealth. Assuming that the planner is forced to implement a log-linear (progressive) tax and transfer function of pre-tax labor income (often used in public finance), and that low skilled households are hand to mouth consumers, I show that the optimal long-run capital tax rate is positive and the labor marginal tax rate can be positive or negative, depending on demand elasticities as well as on the impact of capital on the skill premium. A positive capital tax serves the purpose of reducing tax distortions arising from redistribution, and it survives for any parametrization of the log-linear tax scheme except for a fully progressive system.