Institut de Recherches Économiques et Fiscales

IREF Europe - Institut de Recherches Économiques et Fiscales

Pour la liberté économique
et la concurrence fiscale

IREF - Institut de Recherches Économiques et Fiscales
Pour la liberté économique et la concurrence fiscale

An Economic Rationale for the Net Wealth Tax - Does It Exist ?

Abstract : This paper surveys possible motivations having a net wealth tax. After giving a short overview over the state of wealth taxation in OECD countries, we discuss both popular arguments for such a tax, as well as economic arguments. It is argued that classical normative principles of taxation known from public economics cannot give a sound justification for a net wealth tax. The efficiency-related effects are also discussed and shown to be theoretically ambiguous, while empirical evidence hints at a negative effect on GDP growth.

Finally, it is argued that the existence of net wealth taxes is better explained with imperfections of collective decision-making than with economic rationality.

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