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Intertemporal Distortions in the Second Best

  • Stefania Albanesi
  • Roc Armenter

This paper studies the long-run properties of intertemporal distortions in a broad class of second-best economies. Our unified framework encompasses and extends many well-known models, such as variants of the Ramsey taxation model with aggregate or idiosyncratic risk, and economies with incentive compatibility constraints due to limited commitment, political economy, self-enforcement or private information, or combinations of these. We identify a sufficient condition that rules out permanent intertemporal distortions: if there exists an allocation that satisfies all constraints and eventually converges to the limiting first-best allocation, then intertemporal distortions are temporary in the second best. This result uncovers a common optimality principle linking the intertemporal allocation of resources with the ability to front-load distortions for this broad class of environments. A series of applications illustrates the significance of these findings. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 79 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1271-1307

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:4:p:1271-1307
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