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Optimal labor-income tax volatility with credit frictions

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  • Abo-Zaid, Salem

Abstract

This paper studies the optimality of labor tax smoothing in a simple model with credit frictions. Firms’ borrowing to pay their wage payments in advance is constrained by the value of their collateral at the beginning of the period. The labor tax and the shadow value on the credit constraint lead to a (static) wedge between the marginal product of labor and the marginal rate of substitution between labor and consumption. This paper suggests that while the notion of “wedge smoothing” is carried over to this environment, it is achieved only through a volatile labor-income tax rate. As the shadow value on the financing constraint varies over the business cycle, tax volatility is needed in order to counteract this variation and thus allow for “wedge smoothing”. In particular, the optimal labor-income tax rate is lower when the credit market is more tightened and higher when the credit market is less tightened. Therefore, when firms are more credit-constrained and the demand for labor is reduced, optimal fiscal policy calls for boosting labor supply by lowering the labor-income tax rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39083.

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Date of creation: 11 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39083

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Keywords: Labor tax smoothing; Credit frictions; Borrowing constraints;

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  1. Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 1996. "Optimal taxation without state-contingent debt," Economics Working Papers 170, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2001.
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  7. Abo-Zaid, Salem, 2013. "On credit frictions as labor–income taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 287-292.
  8. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," Departmental Working Papers 200105, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  9. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2009. "Tax smoothing in frictional labor markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 965, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. 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.
  11. Carlstrom, Charles T & Fuerst, Timothy S, 1997. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 893-910, December.
  12. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst & Matthias Paustian, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model with Agency Costs," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 37-70, 09.
  13. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model," Staff Report 160, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Torben M. Andersen & Robert R. Dogonowski, 2004. "What Should Optimal Income Taxes Smooth?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(3), pages 491-507, 08.
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