The Surprising Power of Age-Dependent Taxes
Review of Economic Studies, October 2011, Pages 1490-1518
Abstract: This paper provides a new, empirically driven application of the dynamic Mirrleesian framework by studying a feasible and potentially powerful tax reform: age-dependent labour income taxation. I show analytically how age dependence improves policy on both the intratemporal and intertemporal margins. I use detailed numerical simulations, calibrated with data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics, to generate robust policy implications: age dependence (1) lowers marginal taxes on average and especially on high-income young workers and (2) lowers average taxes on all young workers relative to older workers when private saving and borrowing are restricted. Finally, I calculate and characterize the welfare gains from age dependence. Despite its simplicity, age dependence generates a welfare gain equal to between 0.6% and 1.5% of aggregate annual consumption, and it captures more than 60% of the gain from reform to the dynamic optimal policy. The gains are due to substantial increases in both efficiency and equity. When age dependence is restricted to be Pareto improving, the welfare gain is nearly as large.
Do Stronger Age Discrimination Laws Make Social Security Reforms More Effective?
David Neumark & Joanne Song, NBER Working Paper, September 2011
Abstract: Supply-side Social Security reforms to increase employment and delay benefit claiming among older individuals may be frustrated by age discrimination. We test for policy complementarities between supply-side Social Security reforms and demand-side efforts to deter age discrimination, specifically studying whether stronger state-level age discrimination protections enhanced the impact of the increases in the Social Security Full Retirement Age (FRA) that occurred in the past decade. The evidence indicates that, for older individuals who were "caught" by the increase in the FRA, benefit claiming reductions and employment increases were sharper in states with stronger age discrimination protections.
(nod to Kevin Lewis)