Abstract:

By taxing rents, governments can avoid a trade-off between productivity- enhancing public investment and efficiency losses from raising funds. However, it is unclear whether the rents present in a growing economy are sufficient to finance its socially optimal level. We prove that the social optimum can be attained if the income share from a fixed factor, such as land, exceeds the public investment requirement. We thus translate the Henry George Theorem from urban economics to neoclassical and endogenous growth settings: here, the socially optimal land rent tax rate is below 100 %. Our finding may address the underfunding of national infrastructure investments.

Citation:

Mattauch, L., Siegmeier, J., Edenhofer, O. & Creutzig, F. (2018). 'Financing Public Capital When Rents Are Back: A Macroeconomic Henry George Theorem'. Public Finance Analysis, 74, pp.340-360.
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