NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Optimal Positive Capital Taxes at Interior Steady States

Jess Benhabib, Bálint Szőke

NBER Working Paper No. 25895
Issued in May 2019, Revised in February 2020
NBER Program(s):Public Economics

We generalize recent results of Bassetto and Benhabib (2006) and Straub and Werning (2018) in a neo-classical model with endogenous labor-leisure choice where all agents are allowed to save and accumulate capital. We provide a sufficient condition under which optimal redistributive capital taxes remain at their allowed upper bound forever, even if the resulting equilibrium trajectory converges to a unique steady state with positive and finite consumption, capital, and labor. We then provide an interpretation of our sufficient condition. Using recent evidence on wealth distribution in the United States, we argue that our sufficient condition is empirically plausible.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25895

 
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