Stabilization versus Insurance: Welfare Effects of Procyclical Taxation Under Incomplete Markets
AbstractWe construct and calibrate a general equilibrium business cycle model with unemployment and precautionary saving. We compute the cost of business cycles and locate the optimum in a set of simple cyclical fiscal policies. Our economy exhibits productivity shocks, giving firms an incentive to hire more when productivity is high. However, business cycles make workers' income riskier, both by increasing the unconditional probability of unusually long unemployment spells, and by making wages more variable, and therefore they decrease social welfare by around one-fourth or one-third of 1% of consumption. Optimal fiscal policy offsets the cycle, holding unemployment benefits constant but varying the tax rate procyclically to smooth hiring. By running a deficit of 4% to 5% of output in recessions, the government eliminates half the variation in the unemployment rate, most of the variation in workers'aggregate consumption, and most of the welfare cost of business cycles.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 704.
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Other versions of this item:
- James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2004. "Stabilization versus insurance: Welfare effects of procyclical taxation under incomplete markets," Economics Working Papers 890, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2005.
- James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2004. "Stabilization versus insurance: welfare effects of procyclical taxation under incomplete markets," Working Papers 234, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-12-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2005-12-01 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-IAS-2005-12-01 (Insurance Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2005-12-01 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-PBE-2005-12-01 (Public Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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