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Seigniorage and Distortionary Taxation in a Model with Heterogeneous Agents and Idiosyncratic Uncertainty

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  • Sofía Bauducco

Abstract

In this paper we study the optimal monetary and fiscal policy mix in a model in which agents are subject to idiosyncratic uninsurable shocks to their labor productivity. We identify two main effects of anticipated inflation absent in representative agent frameworks. First, inflation stimulates saving for precautionary reasons. Hence, a higher level of anticipated inflation implies a higher capital stock in steady state, which translates into higher wages and lower taxes on labor income. This benefits poor, less productive agents. Second, inflation acts as a regressive consumption tax, which favors rich and productive agents. We calibrate our model economy to the U.S. economy and compute the optimal policy mix. We find that, for a utilitarian government, the Friedman rule is optimal even when we allow for the presence of heterogeneity and uninsurable idiosyncratic risk. Although the aggregate welfare costs of inflation are small, individual costs and benefits are large. Net winners from inflation are poor, less productive agents, while middle-class and rich households are always net losers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 611.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:611

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  1. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph Haslag & Antoine Martin & Rajesh Singh, 2008. "Who Is Afraid Of The Friedman Rule?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 113-130, 04.
  2. Correia, Maria Isabel Horta & Teles, Pedro, 1996. "Is the Friedman Rule Optimal When Money is an Intermediate Good?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Albert Marcet & Katharina Greulich, 2008. "Pareto-Improving Optimal Capital and Labor Taxes," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 733.08, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  4. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Akyol, Ahmet, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with incomplete markets and idiosyncratic risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1245-1269, September.
  6. Claudio Campanale, 2007. "Increasing Returns to Savings and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 646-675, October.
  7. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Haslag, Joseph & Martin, Antoine, 2004. "Heterogeneity, Redistribution, and the Friedman Rule," Staff General Research Papers 11371, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1996. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 203-223, April.
  9. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Staff Report 147, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  11. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
  12. Carlos E. da Costa & Iván Werning, 2008. "On the Optimality of the Friedman Rule with Heterogeneous Agents and Nonlinear Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 82-112, 02.
  13. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1069-1097, December.
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