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Distortionary taxes and public investment when government promises are not enforceable

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  • Azzimonti, Marina
  • Sarte, Pierre-Daniel
  • Soares, Jorge

Abstract

We characterize the optimal financing of productive public capital and compute the welfare loss from being unable to commit to the Ramsey policy. Because this calculation ultimately relies on numerical approximations, we contrast alternative approaches. While perturbation and linear quadratic methods deliver accurate steady states, the latter can yield misleading policy implications during transitions. We find that moving from a regime with commitment to one with discretion implies only a small welfare loss. Although Markov-perfect consumption falls noticeably short of its Ramsey counterpart in steady-state, consumption under discretion is higher in the short-run which largely offsets this long-run loss.

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  • Azzimonti, Marina & Sarte, Pierre-Daniel & Soares, Jorge, 2009. "Distortionary taxes and public investment when government promises are not enforceable," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1662-1681, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:33:y:2009:i:9:p:1662-1681
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    3. Novales, Alfonso & Pérez, Rafaela & Ruiz, Jesus, 2014. "Optimal time-consistent fiscal policy under endogenous growth with elastic labor supply," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 398-412.
    4. Martin, Fernando M., 2015. "Debt, inflation and central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 129-150.
    5. Novales, Alfonso & Pérez, Rafaela & Ruiz, Jesús, 2014. "Optimal time-consistent fiscal policy in an endogenous growth economy with public consumption and capital," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 104-117.
    6. Marina Azzimonti, 2018. "The Politics Of Fdi Expropriation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 479-510, May.
    7. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Latchezar Popov, 2020. "Industrialization and the evolution of enforcement institutions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 69(3), pages 745-788, April.
    8. Salvador Ortigueira & Joana Pereira, 2016. "Lack of Commitment, Retroactive Tax Changes, and Macroeconomic Instability," Working Papers WP2016-05, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    9. Francesco Lancia & Alessia Russo, 2010. "A Dynamic Politico-Economic Model of Intergenerational Contracts," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 050, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    10. Fernando M. Martin, 2013. "Government Policy In Monetary Economies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 185-217, February.
    11. Sikdar, Shiva, 2008. "Essays in macroeconomics, international trade and the environment," ISU General Staff Papers 2008010108000016832, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    12. Martin, Fernando M., 2015. "Policy And Welfare Effects Of Within-Period Commitment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(7), pages 1401-1426, October.
    13. Dai, Meixing & Sidiropoulos, Moïse, 2011. "Monetary and fiscal policy interactions with central bank transparency and public investment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 195-208, September.
    14. Stefano Gnocchi & Luisa Lambertini, 2016. "Monetary Commitment and the Level of Public Debt," Staff Working Papers 16-3, Bank of Canada.
    15. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
    16. Alex Schmitt, 2018. "Optimal Carbon Pricing and Income Taxation Without Commitment," ifo Working Paper Series 274, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    17. Marina Azzimonti & Eva De Francisco & Per Krusell, 2006. "Median‐voter Equilibria in the Neoclassical Growth Model under Aggregation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 587-606, December.
    18. Stephanos Papadamou & Eleftherios Spyromitros & Panagiotis Tsintzos, 2017. "Public investment, inflation persistence and central bank independence," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 44(6), pages 976-986, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public investment Commitment Time consistency Discretion Ramsey Markov-perfect;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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