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Foresight and Information Flows

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  • Eric M. Leeper
  • Todd B. Walker
  • Shu-Chun Susan Yang

Abstract

News--or foresight--about future economic fundamentals can create rational expectations equilibria with non-fundamental representations that pose substantial challenges to econometric efforts to recover the structural shocks to which economic agents react. Using tax policies as a leading example of foresight, simple theory makes transparent the economic behavior and information structures that generate non-fundamental equilibria. Econometric analyses that fail to model foresight will obtain biased estimates of output multipliers for taxes; biases are quantitatively important when two canonical theoretical models are taken as data generating processes. Both the nature of equilibria and the inferences about the effects of anticipated tax changes hinge critically on hypothesized tax information flows. Differential U.S. federal tax treatment of municipal and treasury bonds embeds news about future taxes in bond yield spreads. Including that measure of tax news in identified VARs produces substantially different inferences about the macroeconomic impacts of anticipated taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16951.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16951

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  1. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "VAR analysis, non-fundamental representations, Blashke matrices," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10151, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Shu-Chun S. Yang & Todd B. Walker & Eric M. Leeper, 2010. "Government Investment and Fiscal Stimulus," IMF Working Papers 10/229, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Stefan Laséen & Lars E.O. Svensson, 2011. "Anticipated Alternative policy Rate Paths in Plicy Simulations," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 7(3), pages 1-35, September.
  4. Eric M. Leeper, 1990. "The dynamics of interest rate and tax rules in a stochastic model," International Finance Discussion Papers 375, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2008. "What's News in Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 14215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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