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Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks

  • Karel Mertens
  • Morten O. Ravn

We provide evidence on the dynamic effects of tax liability changes in the United States. We distinguish between surprise and anticipated tax changes. Preannounced but not yet implemented tax cuts give rise to contractions in output, investment, and hours worked while real wages increase. There are no significant anticipation effects on aggregate consumption. Implemented tax cuts, regardless of their timing, have expansionary effects, on output, consumption, investment, hours worked, and real wages. Results are shown to be robust. Tax shocks are important impulses to the US business cycle and anticipation effects have been important during several business cycle episodes. (JEL E23, E32, E62, H20, H30)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.4.2.145
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 145-81

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:145-81
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.2.145
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  1. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2008. "The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2008. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," NBER Working Papers 14551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christopher L. House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2004. "Phased-In Tax Cuts and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 10415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Morten O. Ravn & Karel Mertens, 2009. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy shocks," 2009 Meeting Papers 480, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  8. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2005. "The Incredible Volcker Disinflation," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The effects of monetary policy shocks: evidence from the flow of funds," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Apr.
  10. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B & Johnsen, Thore, 1998. "Productivity Growth, Consumer Confidence and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1779, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  12. Heim, Bradley T., 2007. "The Effect of Tax Rebates on Consumption Expenditures: Evidence from State Tax Rebates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(4), pages 685-710, December.
  13. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  14. Susan Yang, Shu-Chun, 2005. "Quantifying tax effects under policy foresight," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1557-1568, November.
  15. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  16. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  17. Karel Mertens & Morten Overgaard Ravn, 2010. "Online Appendix to "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks"," Technical Appendices 09-221, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  18. Karel Mertens & MortenO. Ravn, 2010. "Measuring the Impact of Fiscal Policy in the Face of Anticipation: A Structural VAR Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 393-413, 05.
  19. Hall, Robert E, 1971. "The Dynamic Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Economy With Foresight," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 229-44, April.
  20. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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