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Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses

  • Harald Uhlig
  • Lars Ljungqvist

This paper examines the role for tax policies in productivity-shock driven economies with catching-up-with-the-Joneses utility functions. The optimal tax policy is shown to affect the economy countercyclically via procyclical taxes, i.e., "cooling down" the economy with higher taxes when it is "overheating" in booms and "stimulating" the economy with lower taxes in recessions to keep consumption up. Thus, models with catching-up-with-the-Joneses utility functions call for traditional Keynesian demand-management policies but for rather unorthodox reasons.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.90.3.356
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 90 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 356-366

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:3:p:356-366
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.3.356
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  1. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  2. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  3. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  4. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  5. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
  6. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  7. Martin Lettau & Harald Uhlig, 2000. "Can Habit Formation be Reconciled with Business Cycle Facts?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 79-99, January.
  8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
  9. Persson, Mats, 1995. " Why Are Taxes So High in Egalitarian Societies?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 569-80, December.
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