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Ramsey Tax Cycles


  • Marcus Hagedorn


This paper asks whether tax cycles or tax smoothing represents the optimal policy in models without any extrinsic uncertainty. To answer this question, I develop a general framework for studying tax cycles in a large class of models that feature various types of frictions. This framework adds various wedges, resembling tax wedges, to the labour market, to the product market, and to money acquisition into an otherwise frictionless economy, so that it nests a large class of models used for policy analysis. I derive a criterion for this general framework that indicates when cycles are welfare-improving in a frictionless economy, and why frictions make cycles more likely to be optimal. I then calibrate two models with frictions, a labour search model and a monetary model, and show that cycles are welfare-improving under standard preferences. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Hagedorn, 2010. "Ramsey Tax Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1042-1071.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:3:p:1042-1071

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "Fiscal policy in a Real-Business-Cycle model with labor-intensive government services and endogenous public sector wages and hours," EconStor Preprints 142338, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    2. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Jiang, Wei & Malley, James, 2011. "The distributional consequences of tax reforms under market distortions," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-73, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2013. "First-and second-best allocations under economic and environmental uncertainty," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(3), pages 360-380, June.
    4. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Jiang, Wei & Malley, James R., 2013. "Tax reforms under market distortions in product and labour markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 28-42.

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