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Progressive taxation and macroeconomic (In) stability with productive government spending

  • Chen, Shu-Hua
  • Guo, Jang-Ting

This paper systematically examines the interrelations between a progressive income tax schedule and macroeconomic (in)stability in an otherwise standard one-sector real business model with productive government spending. We analytically show that the economy exhibits indeterminacy and sunspots if and only if the equilibrium after-tax wage-hours locus is positively sloped and steeper than the household's labor supply curve. Unlike in the framework with useless public expenditures, a less progressive tax policy may operate like an automatic stabilizer that mitigates belief-driven cyclical fluctuations. Moreover, our quantitative analysis shows that this result is able to provide a theoretically plausible explanation for the discernible reduction in US output volatility after the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was implemented.

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

Volume (Year): 37 (2013)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 951-963

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:37:y:2013:i:5:p:951-963
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  1. Sharon Harrison & Jang-Ting Guo, 2006. "Useful Government Spending and Macroeconomic (In)stability under Balanced-Budget Rules," Working Papers 0701, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  2. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1999. "Indeterminacy and sunspots in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 387-448 Elsevier.
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  4. Teresa Lloyd-Braga & Leonor Modesto & Thomas Seegmuller, 2008. "Tax Rate Variability and Public Spending as Sources of Indeterminacy," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00194395, HAL.
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  7. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1995. "Balanced-budget rules, distortionary taxes, and aggregate instability," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Jess Benhabib & Roger E.A. Farmer, 1992. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," UCLA Economics Working Papers 646, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E A, 1996. "Indeterminacy and Sector-specific Externalities," CEPR Discussion Papers 1403, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  16. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Growth Effects of Shifting from a Graduated-rate Tax System to a Flat Tax," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 194-213, April.
  19. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Kazuo Mino & Yasuhiro Nakamoto, 2008. "Progressive Taxation, Wealth Distribution, and Macroeconomic Stability," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-22, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  21. Woodford, Michael, 1986. "Stationary sunspot equilibria in a finance constrained economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 128-137, October.
  22. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  23. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  24. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Understanding Changes in International Business Cycle Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 9859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Jang-Ting Guo & Sharon G. Harrison, 2001. "Tax Policy and Stability in a Model with Sector-Specific Externalities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 75-89, January.
  26. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  27. Christopher Giles & Paul Johnson, 1994. "Tax reform in the UK and changes in the progressivity of the tax system, 1985-95," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 64-86, August.
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