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The impact of taxation on the distribution of wealth in an economy with changing population


The paper investigates into the determinants of the personal distribution of income and wealth. In an overlapping generations model all individuals are assumed to be identical except for their inherited wealth. Since life time is random the bequest of an individual and thus the inherited stock of capital of its children are stochastic variables. Taxation and social security contributions affect life cycle savings, bequests, and, eventually, the distribution of income and wealth in the society. It is shown that, in general, higher tax rates reduce distributive inequality as long as the rate of interest is exogenously given. In steady state, however, where the rate of interest is determined endogenously, increasing taxation and higher social security payments both diminish the capital labor ratio so that the rate of interest rises. If this interest effect is strong enough then it may outbalance the tendency toward more equality because higher interest rates enhance initial differences in the distribution of both income and wealth and, eventually, the inequality in the distribution of income and wealth in the society.

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Schwödiauer, G., Wenig, A. The impact of taxation on the distribution of wealth in an economy with changing population. J Popul Econ 3, 53–71 (1990).

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  • Interest Rate
  • Social Security
  • Stochastic Variable
  • Initial Difference
  • High Interest Rate