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The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence

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  • Mertens, Karel
  • Ravn, Morten O.

Abstract

We provide empirical evidence on the effects of tax liability changes in the United States. We make a distinction between "surprise" and "anticipated" tax shocks. Surprise tax cuts give rise to a large boom in the economy. Anticipated tax liability tax cuts are instead associated with a contraction in output, investment and hours worked prior to their implementation. After their implementation, anticipated tax liability cuts lead to an economic expansion. We build a DSGE model with changes in tax rates that may be anticipated or not, estimate key parameters using a simulation estimator and show that it can account for the main features of the data. We argue that tax shocks are empirically important for U.S. business cycles and that the Reagan tax cut, which was largely anticipated, was a main factor behind the early 1980’s recession.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6673.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6673

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Keywords: anticipation effects; fiscal policy; structural estimation; tax liabilities;

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  1. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2006. "Stock Prices, News, and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1293-1307, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexander Kriwoluzky, 2008. "Matching Theory and Data: Bayesian Vector Autoregression and Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-060, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2010. "Labor wedges and open economy puzzles," MPRA Paper 31370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Eric Leeper & Todd Walker, 2011. "Information Flows and News Driven Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 55-71, January.
  5. Pedro Brinca, 2013. "Distortions in the Neoclassical Growth Model: A Cross-Country Analysis," GEMF Working Papers 2013-24, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  6. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2009. "How large are the effects of tax changes?," NBER Working Papers 15303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2009. "Empirical evidence on the aggregate effects of anticipated and unanticipated US tax policy shocks," Working Paper Research 181, National Bank of Belgium.
  9. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring Fiscal Expectations," Caepr Working Papers 2009-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  10. Jose Lopez, 2012. "Labor Supply, Aggregation and the Labor Wedge," 2012 Meeting Papers 737, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang & Eric M. Leeper, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytical Issues," 2008 Meeting Papers 786, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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