Taxes and stabilization in contemporary macroeconomic models
The role of proportional and procyclic labor income taxes for automatic stabilization with stochastic productivity is analyzed in a contemporary macroeconomic model based on imperfect competition. The importance of short-run nominal wage rigidity for the effectiveness of progressive taxes on labor income for stabilizing output and raising household welfare is examined in a model that yields complete analytical solutions with stochastic output shocks. Increasing the procyclicity of labor income tax rates raises welfare with and without rigid nominal wages in the model economy. With fully flexible prices and wages, a positive covariance between the distortionary tax rate and productivity reduces the volatility of production and employment. This effect disappears under nominal wage rigidity, although progressive taxation can still raise welfare by reducing the distortion caused by a proportional labor tax. With rigid nominal wages and flexible consumer goods prices, payroll taxes levied at rates that rise with output can serve as automatic stabilizers. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006
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