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Optimal long-run fiscal policy: Constraints, preferences and the resolution of uncertainty

  • Auerbach, Alan J.
  • Hassett, Kevin

We construct a computational dynamic stochastic overlapping generations general equilibrium model with uncertain lifetimes and explore the impact of policy stickiness (specifically, a major reform will preclude future reforms for a generation) on optimal long-run fiscal policy. Under such circumstances, entitlement reforms exhaust a valuable option to move in the future. We explore the conditions under which the gain to waiting is large enough to induce optimizing policymakers to delay reforming a suboptimal system. We also allow for the uncertainty to have ARCH characteristics and explore the impact of time-varying uncertainty on the optimality of delayed policy action.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 31 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (May)
Pages: 1451-1472

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:31:y:2007:i:5:p:1451-1472
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  1. Auerbach, Alan J. & Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Leibfritz, Willi (ed.), 1999. "Generational Accounting around the World," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226032139, September.
  2. Bernd Raffelhuschen & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "Generational Accounting around the Globe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 161-166, May.
  3. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  4. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1981. "Uncertainty and Optimal Social Security Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 189-206, May.
  5. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  6. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Uncertainty and the Design of Long-Run Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Social Security and Demographic Uncertainty: The Risk Sharing Properties of Alternative Policies," NBER Working Papers 7030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
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