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Future fiscal and budgetary shocks

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  • Hian Teck Hoon

    ()
    (Singapore Management University)

  • Edmund S. Phelps

    ()
    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

Abstract

We study here the effects of future tax and budgetary shocks on present levels of economic activity and real interest rates in a nonmonetary and possibly non-Ricardian economy. The paper first takes up an (unanticipated) temporary tax cut to be effective on a given future date " a delayed "debt bomb." The sudden prospect of this future-dated shock causes at once a drop in the (unit) value placed on the firms business asset, the customer, and accordingly on the price of shares " with the result that the hourly wage, hours worked and GDP drop in tandem. This paradox of reduced activity through announcement of future "stimulus" does not hinge on an upward jump of long rates of interest, which may or may not occur: the short rate of return on shares is increased by the initial drop in their price, but the price has so much farther to fall that this is more than offset for a time by the expectation of ongoing capital loss, so short rates of interest actually drop. The paper next studies a future tax cut lacking a "sunset" provision and requiring instead a gradual welfare benefit adjustment to retain solvency. The same negative effects on present activity result. Third, the paper shows that if the tax cut is effective immediately, its effect is ambiguous, as the Marshallian supply-sider effect works the other way. Finally, the paper also examines the new anticipation of a future increase in the number of retirees in a pay-as-you-go social security program. In conclusion, juxtaposing these results against recent US experience, we hypothesize that the legislation of an unsustainable fiscal gap - the cuts in tax rates and the rise of future obligations owing to the cumulative deficit and the approaching bulge in retirement benefits - is an important cause of the decline in hours worked per employee and in the participation rates over the period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0405-01.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0405-01

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  1. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2003. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," IDEI Working Papers 158, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  3. Phelps, Edmund S, 1992. "Consumer Demand and Equilibrium Unemployment in a Working Model of the Customer-Market Incentive-Wage Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 1003-32, August.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2006. "Nobel Lecture: The Transformation of Macroeconomic Policy and Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 203-235, April.
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  7. Søren Nielsen, 1994. "Social security and foreign indebtedness in a small open economy," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 47-63, March.
  8. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
  9. Barry, Frank & Devereux, Michael B., 2003. "Expansionary fiscal contraction: A theoretical exploration," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-23, March.
  10. Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy In Good Times And Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1399-1436, November.
  11. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Hoon, Hian Teck & Phelps, Edmund S., 2008. "Future fiscal and budgetary shocks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 499-518, November.
  13. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 198-230, February.
  14. Robert J. Barro & Robert G. King, 1982. "Time-Separable Preference and Intertemporal-Substitution Models of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 0888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ascari, Guido & Rankin, Neil, 2007. "Perpetual youth and endogenous labor supply: A problem and a possible solution," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 708-723, December.
  16. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  17. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S223-50, January.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  19. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 4490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Phelps, Edmund S. & Shell, Karl, 1969. "Public debt, taxation, and capital intensiveness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 330-346, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Hoon, Hian Teck & Phelps, Edmund S., 2008. "Future fiscal and budgetary shocks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 499-518, November.
  2. Phelps, Edmund S., 2006. "Macroeconomics for a Modern Economy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2006-4, Nobel Prize Committee.
  3. Petrucci, Alberto & Phelps, Edmund S., 2009. "Two-sector perspectives on the effects of payroll tax cuts and their financing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 176-190, February.

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