May 2017

Capital taxation with heterogeneous discounting and collateralized borrowing

Nina Biljanovska and Alexandros P. Vardoulakis


We study optimal long-run capital taxation in a closed economy with heterogeneity in agents' time-discount factors where borrowing is allowed but restricted by a collateral constraint. Financial frictions distort intertemporal optimization margins and the tax system serves a dual role: first, it is used to finance government consumption; second, it serves to alleviate the distortions arising from the binding collateral constraint. The discrepancy between the private and the social discount factors pushes for a subsidy on capital, while the discrepancy introduced by the collateral constraint pushes for a tax in the long-run. When consumption smoothing motives are muted, the two effects counter-balance each other and the tax is zero. With finite elasticity of intertemporal substitution, the second discrepancy dominates and the tax on capital income is positive in the long-run.

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Keywords: Ramsey taxation, collateral constraint, heterogeneous discount factors, tax on capital


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Last Update: January 09, 2020