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The Inconsistency Puzzle Resolved: an Omitted Variable

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  • Nikolay Arefiev

Abstract

The contemporary version of the dynamic Ramsey problem omits expectations of a household’s initial lump-sum wealth taxation due to policy revision; therefore, the attainable resource allocation set in this problem is ill-defined. This omission leads to misleading conclusions about the optimal policy in the short run and, in particular, that the Ramsey policy is dynamically inconsistent. The effect of introducing the expectations into the analysis of dynamic inconsistency is similar to that of introducing expected inflation into the Phillips curve: we show that only an unexpected policy surprise affects the attainable resource allocation set and the optimal policy. In contrast to Chamley (1986), we show that intensive capital income taxation at the beginning of an optimal policy does not imply a lump-sum taxation of household wealth and cannot reduce the excess tax burden. We also demonstrate that the Ramsey policy is dynamically consistent even without commitment. We resolve the Ramsey problem and compare our results to those of Chamley on optimal capital income taxation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels in its series EERI Research Paper Series with number EERI_RP_2008_15.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2008_15

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Keywords: Consistency; Equilibrium policy; Optimal taxation;

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  1. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-39, August.
  2. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J Kehoe, 1998. "Sustainable Plans," Levine's Working Paper Archive 600, David K. Levine.
  4. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 575, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Staff Report 158, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  9. Judd, Kenneth L., 1999. "Optimal taxation and spending in general competitive growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-26, January.
  10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Arefiev, Nikolay & Baron, Tatyana, 2006. "Capital Taxation and Rent Seeking," MPRA Paper 9988, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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