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Optimal Taxation in an RBC Model: A Linear-Quadratic Approach

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  • Pierpaolo Benigno
  • Michael Woodford

Abstract

We reconsider the optimal taxation of income from labor and capital in the stochastic growth model analyzed by Chari et al. (1994, 1995), but using a linear-quadratic (LQ) approximation to derive a log-linear approximation to the optimal policy rules. The example illustrates how inaccurate "naive" LQ approximation --- in which the quadratic objective is obtained from a simple Taylor expansion of the utility function of the representative household --- can be, but also shows how a correct LQ approximation can be obtained, which will provide a correct local approximation to the optimal policy rules in the case of small enough shocks. We also consider the numerical accuracy of the LQ approximation in the case of shocks of the size assumed in the calibration of Chari et al. We find that the correct LQ approximation yields results that are quite accurate, and similar in most respects to the results obtained by Chari et al. using a more computationally intensive numerical method.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11029.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11029

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  1. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Solving Dynamic General Equilibrium Models Using a Second-Order Approximation to the Policy Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2963, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2006. "Linear-Quadratic Approximation of Optimal Policy Problems," NBER Working Papers 12672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 8071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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