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Tax policy and the macroeconomy: Measurement, identification, and non-linearities

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel Riera-Crichton

    (Bates College, Lewiston, United States)

  • Carlos A. Vegh

    ()

    (Johns Hopkins University and NBER, Baltimore, MD, United States)

  • Guillermo Vuletin

    (Inter-American Development Bank, Baltimore, MD, United States)

This paper examines the measurement and identification of tax policy shocks using novel multi-country databases on tax rates. On the measurement front, we argue that there is no substitute for using tax rates, a true policy instrument, as opposed to the much more popular revenue-based measures, such as cyclically adjusted revenues. On the identification front, we argue that the narrative approach (whereby changes in tax rates are classified into exogenous or endogenous to the business cycle based on contemporaneous economic records) is the most accurate method. When properly measured and identified, tax multipliers for both industrial and developing countries are, on average, about -2. Further, we find important non-linearities with multipliers becoming bigger (in absolute value) as both the level of initial taxes and the size of tax changes become larger.

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File URL: http://www.elsevier.es/en-revista-ensayos-sobre-politica-economica-387-pdf-S0120448317300088-S200
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Article provided by Banco de la Republica de Colombia in its journal Ensayos sobre Política Económica.

Volume (Year): 35 (2017)
Issue (Month): 82 (April)
Pages: 10-17

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Handle: RePEc:bdr:ensayo:v:35:y:2017:i:82:p:10-17
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  1. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2013. "On graduation from fiscal procyclicality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 32-47.
  2. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Tax multipliers: Pitfalls in measurement and identification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 30-48.
  3. 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.
  4. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
  6. Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "Explaining fiscal policies and inflation in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1, Supple), pages 16-48, March.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
  8. Ilzetzki, Ethan & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Végh, Carlos A., 2013. "How big (small?) are fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 239-254.
  9. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  10. Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2015. "How Is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 327-370, August.
  11. Roberto Perotti, 2011. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either," NBER Working Papers 16786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 763-801, June.
  13. Poterba, James M & Rotemberg, Julio J, 1990. "Inflation and Taxation with Optimizing Governments," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 1-18, February.
  14. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2012. "Non-linear Effects of Taxation on Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 9261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects From Government Purchases and Taxes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 51-102.
  16. Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either," CEPR Discussion Papers 8252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Nolivos, Roberto Delhy & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2014. "The role of central bank independence on optimal taxation and seigniorage," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 440-458.
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