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Optimal taxation of risky entrepreneurial capital

Boar, C. & Knowles, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-0905-2523 (2024). Optimal taxation of risky entrepreneurial capital. Journal of Public Economics, 234, article number 105100. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2024.105100


We study optimal taxation in a model with endogenous financial frictions, risky investment and occupational choice, where the wealth distribution affects how efficiently capital is used. The planner chooses linear taxes on wealth, capital and labor income to maximize the steady state utility of a newborn agent. Most agents in the model are poor, leading to an equity motive for taxation. We calibrate the model to the US economy and find low positive levels of optimal capital income and wealth taxes. We express optimal tax rates as a closed-form function of the size of tax bases and their elasticities with respect to tax rates, highlighting the forces behind the result. Because financial frictions are endogenous, higher capital income tax rates tighten financial frictions and reduce output. Thus, optimal capital income taxes are lower than in models with exogenous frictions.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Financial frictions, Taxation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
SWORD Depositor:
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