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Optimal Tax and Debt Policy with Endogenously Imperfect Creditworthiness

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Michael Gavin
  • Ricardo Hausmann

Abstract

This paper shows that the patterns of optimal tax rates and borrowing in the presence of endogenous borrowing constraints differ considerably from the patterns observed with fully integrated capital markets. We study a developing country characterized by a costly tax collection. Its access to the international credit market is determined by the efficiency of the tax system and the relative bargaining power of creditors. Partial defaults induce a `burden shifting' from bad to good states of nature, reducing the cost of borrowing, implying that a switch from no default to a partial default regime is associated with a borrowing boom. The switch to a partial default regime is associated with financial fragility, where small adverse changes in fundamentals lead to a large accumulation of debt. The tax rate exhibits strong counter-cyclical patterns in economies operating at the credit ceiling, whereas the tax rate exhibits strong pro-cyclical patterns in economies operating on the upward sloping portion of the supply of credit, where the risk premium is positive, and very little cyclical patterns in economies operating on the elastic portion of the supply of credit. We identify a volatility- debt curve for a given realization of output. With low debt, higher volatility tends to reduce borrowing. When volatility reaches a threshold, we observe a switch from a no default to a partial default regime, where a further rise in volatility increases borrowing and reduces present taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5558.

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Date of creation: May 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5558

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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Optimal Debt Management," NBER Working Papers 5327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Helpman, Elhanan, 1989. "The Simple Analytics of Debt-Equity Swaps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 440-51, June.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "The Behavior of United States Deficits," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 361-394 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Kaminsky, Graciela L., 1991. "Debt relief and debt rescheduling : The optimal-contract approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 5-36, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Government Spending, Interest Rates, Prices, and Budget Deficits in the United Kingdom, 1701-1918," NBER Working Papers 2005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillermo A. Calvo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 1996. "Mexico's balance-of-payments crisis: a chronicle of death foretold," International Finance Discussion Papers 545, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
  10. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Perotti & Ernesto Talvi, 1996. "Managing Fiscal Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volatility, Procyclicality, and Limited Creditworthiness," IDB Publications 6797, Inter-American Development Bank.
  11. Calvo, Guillermo A & Guidotti, Pablo E, 1993. "On the Flexibility of Monetary Policy: The Case of the Optimal Inflation Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 667-87, July.
  12. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Perotti & Ernesto Talvi, 1996. "Managing Fiscal Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volatility, Procyclicality, and Limited Creditworthiness," Research Department Publications 4032, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-78, February.
  15. Michael P. Dooley, 1988. "Buy-Backs and Market Valuation of External Debt," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(2), pages 215-229, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Pierre-Richard Agenor & Joshua Aizenman, 1997. "Contagion and Volatility with Imperfect Credit Markets," NBER Working Papers 6080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jose Ricardo da Costa e Silva & Ryan A. Compton, 2008. "Capital Flows and Destabilizing Policy in Latin America," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 9(3), pages 491-517.
  3. Joshua Aizenman & Ilan Noy, 2004. "Endogenous Financial and Trade Openness," NBER Working Papers 10496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jan Zápal, 2007. "Cyclical Bias in Government Spending: Evidence from New EU Member Countries," Working Papers IES 2007/15, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised May 2007.

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