POSITIONAL PREFERENCES IN TIME AND SPACE: IMPLICATIONS FOR OPTIMAL INCOME TAXATION
This paper concerns optimal nonlinear taxation in an OLG model with two ability-types, where people care about their own consumption relative to (i) other people’s current consumption, (ii) own past consumption, and (iii) other people’s past consumption. We show that intertemporal consumption comparisons affect the marginal income tax structure in the same qualitative way as comparisons based on other people’s current consumption. Based on available empirical estimates, comparisons with other people’s current and previous consumption tend to substantially increase the optimal marginal labor income tax rates, while they may either increase or decrease the optimal marginal capital income tax rates.
Optimal income taxation
Working Papers in Economics