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Tax Smoothing with Stochastic Interest Rates: A Reassessment of Clinton's Fiscal Legacy

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  • Lloyd-Ellis, Huw
  • Zhan, Shiqiang
  • Zhu, Xiaodong

Abstract

The return to "sound" fiscal policy after the high budget deficits of the 1980s and early 1990s has been hailed by many as the Clinton administration's most important achievement. We evaluate post-war, U.S. fiscal policy using a generalized tax-smoothing model that allows for stochastic interest rates and growth rates. We show that contrary to conventional wisdom, the evolution of the U.S. debt-GDP ratio during the 1980s was remarkably consistent with the tax-smoothing paradigm. In fact, a more substantial departure occurred during the late 1990s, when the debt-GDP ratio fell more rapidly than predicted by optimal tax smoothing.

Suggested Citation

  • Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Zhan, Shiqiang & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2005. "Tax Smoothing with Stochastic Interest Rates: A Reassessment of Clinton's Fiscal Legacy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(4), pages 699-724, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:37:y:2005:i:4:p:699-724
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jagannathan, Ravi & Wang, Zhenyu, 1996. " The Conditional CAPM and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 3-53, March.
    2. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-652, August.
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    8. Bohn, Henning, 1995. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in a Stochastic Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 257-271, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luo, Yulei & Nie, Jun & Young, Eric R., 2014. "Model uncertainty and intertemporal tax smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 289-314.
    2. Angyridis, Constantine, 2009. "Balanced budget vs. Tax smoothing in a small open economy: A welfare comparison," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 438-463, September.
    3. Evan C Tanner, 2013. "Fiscal Sustainability; A 21st Century Guide for the Perplexed," IMF Working Papers 13/89, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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