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Self-control Preferences and Taxation: A Quantitative Analysis in a Life-cycle Model

Financial growth

Cagri Kumru and Athanasios C. Thanopoulos

This paper examines the impact of various fiscal policies, namely, taxes on consumption, labor and capital when agents have self-control preferences. Agents trade in a stochastic overlapping generations economy while facing borrowing constraints. We quantitatively show that modelling choices, such as, liquidity constraints, life-cycle structure and idiosyncratic earnings risks, that were previously considered to be critical in delivering a positive capital income tax, need not be binding in this regard.

We argue and quantitatively show that for a sufficiently large measure of individuals having self-control preferences instead of CRRA preferences, or alternatively, for a sufficiently high cost of exercising self control when all individuals are self-control types, the optimal capital income tax is zero. 

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