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A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier

  • Ryan Chahrour
  • Stephanie Schmitt-Groh�
  • Mart�n Uribe

The SVAR and narrative approaches to estimating tax multipliers deliver significantly different results. The former yields multipliers of about 1 and the latter of about 3. The two approaches differ along two important dimensions: the identification scheme and the reduced-form transmission mechanism. This paper uses a DSGE-model to evaluate the hypothesis that the difference in multipliers is due to differences in transmission mechanisms. The main finding of the paper is that this hypothesis is rejected. Instead, the observed differences in estimated multipliers are due either to the models failing to identify the same tax shock, or to small-sample uncertainty. (JEL E13, E23, E32, E62, H20)

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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: 28-45

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:28-45
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.2.28
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  1. 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.
  2. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2009. "Empirical evidence on the aggregate effects of anticipated and unanticipated US tax policy shocks," Working Paper Research 181, National Bank of Belgium.
  4. 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.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  6. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2010. "Business Cycles With A Common Trend in Neutral and Investment-Specific Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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