NBER

Andrea Manera

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Does the US Tax Code Favor Automation?
with Daron Acemoglu, Pascual Restrepo: w27052
We argue that the US tax system is biased against labor and in favor of capital and has become more so in recent years. As a consequence, it has promoted inefficiently high levels of automation. Moving from the US tax system in the 2010s to optimal taxation of capital and labor would raise employment by 4.02% and the labor share by 0.78 percentage points, and restore the optimal level of automation. If moving to optimal taxes is infeasible, more modest reforms can still increase employment by 1.14–1.96%, but in this case efficiency can be increased by imposing an additional automation tax to reduce the equilibrium level of automation. This is because marginal automated tasks do not bring much productivity gains but displace workers, reducing employment below its socially optimal level. We ...

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