IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Excess Burden Of Government Indecision

  • Francisco J. Gomes

    ()

    (London Business School and CEPR)

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    ()

    (Boston University and NBER)

  • Luis M. Viceira

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, CEPR and NBER)

Governments are known for procrastinating when it comes to resolving painful policy problems. Whatever the political motives for waiting to decide, procrastination distorts economic decisions relative to what would arise with early policy resolution. In so doing, it engenders excess burden. This paper posits, calibrates, and simulates a life cycle model with earnings, lifespan, investment return, and future policy uncertainty. It then measures the excess burden from delayed resolution of policy uncertainty. The first uncertain policy we consider concerns the level of future Social Security benefits. Specifically, we examine how an agent would respond to learning in advance whether she will experience a major Social Security benefit cut starting at age 65. We show that having to wait to learn materially affects consumption, saving, and portfolio decisions. It also reduces welfare. Indeed, we show that the excess burden of government indecision can, in this instance, range as high as 0.6 percent of the agent's economic resources. This is a significant distortion in of itself. It's also significant when compared to other distortions measured in the literature. The second uncertain policy we consider concerns marginal tax rates. We obtain similar results once we adjust for the impact of tax rates on income.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2007-004.

as
in new window

Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2007-004
Contact details of provider: Postal: 270 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-353-4389
Fax: 617-353-4449
Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  2. Jullien, Bruno, 1997. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," IDEI Working Papers 67, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. 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 617-52, August.
  4. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  5. Auerbach, Alan J & Hassett, Kevin A, 2002. "Fiscal Policy and Uncertainty," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 229-49, Summer.
  6. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco & Francisco J. Gomes & Pascal J. Maenhout, 1999. "Investing Retirement Wealth: A Life-Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 7029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eugene Fama & F. & Kenneth R. French, . "The Equity Premium."," CRSP working papers 522, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  8. Chalkley, M. & Malcomson, J.M., 1995. "Contracting for health services when patient demand does not reflect quality," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9514, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  9. Ma, Ching-to Albert, 1994. "Health Care Payment Systems: Cost and Quality Incentives," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 93-112, Spring.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1995. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Francisco J. Gomes & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Luis M. Viceira, 2008. "Optimal Life-Cycle Investing with Flexible Labor Supply: A Welfare Analysis of Life-Cycle Funds," NBER Working Papers 13966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Christopher D. Carroll, 1996. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 5788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mark Dusheiko & Hugh Gravelle & Rowena Jacobs & Peter C Smith, . "The Effect of Budgets on Doctor Behaviour: Evidence From A Natural Experiment," Discussion Papers 03/04, Department of Economics, University of York.
  15. Peter A. Diamond, 1997. "Macroeconomics Aspects of Social Security Reform," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 1-88.
  16. EECKHOUDT, Louis & GOLLIER, Christian & TREICH, Nicolas, . "Optimal consumption and the timing of the resolution of uncertainty," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1792, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Pietro Veronesi & Lubos Pastor, 2011. "Uncertainty about Government Policy and Stock Prices," 2011 Meeting Papers 86, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 76-101, January.
  19. Dranove David & Spier Kathryn E., 2003. "A Theory of Utilization Review," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, August.
  20. John B. Shoven & Sita N. Slavov, 2006. "Political Risk Versus Market Risk in Social Security," NBER Working Papers 12135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Measuring Social Security’s Financial Problems," Working Papers wp093, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  22. repec:att:wimass:9722 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David Rapson, 2005. "Comparing Average and Marginal Tax Rates Under the FairTax and the Current System of Federal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 11831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Ellis, Randall P., 1998. "Creaming, skimping and dumping: provider competition on the intensive and extensive margins1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 537-555, October.
  25. Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1985. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Working papers 368, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  26. Alicia H. Munnell, 2003. "The Declining Role Of Social Security," Just the Facts jtf-6, Center for Retirement Research.
  27. Alexander Michaelides & Francisco J. Gomes, 2005. "Optimal life cycle asset allocation : understanding the empirical evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 193, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  28. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Bohn, Henning, 1998. "Risk Sharing in a Stochastic Overlapping Generations Economy," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt9r2809f0, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  30. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 491-533.
  31. Jerry Green & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2006. "On the General Relativity of Fiscal Language," NBER Working Papers 12344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Richard Blundell & Thomas M. Stoker, 1994. "Consumption and the timing of income risk," IFS Working Papers W94/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  33. Ching-to Albert Ma, 1997. "Cost and Quality Incentives in Health Care: Altruistic Providers," Papers 0084, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  34. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
  35. Frank, Richard G. & Glazer, Jacob & McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Measuring adverse selection in managed health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 829-854, November.
  36. James R. Baumgardner, 1991. "The Interaction between Forms of Insurance Contract and Types of Technical Change in Medical Care," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 36-53, Spring.
  37. David Bardey & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2010. "Competition Among Health Plans: A Two-Sided Market Approach," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 435-451, 06.
  38. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  39. Hamish Low, 2005. "Self-Insurance in a Life-Cycle Model of Labor Supply and Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 945-975, October.
  40. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, 04.
  41. Keeler, Emmett B. & Carter, Grace & Newhouse, Joseph P., 1998. "A model of the impact of reimbursement schemes on health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 297-320, June.
  42. João Cocco & Francisco Gomes & Pascal Maenhout, 1998. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9805, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  43. Rochaix, Lise, 1989. "Information asymmetry and search in the market for physicians' services," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 53-84, March.
  44. McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Physician agency," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 461-536 Elsevier.
  45. Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2002. "Generational policy," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 27, pages 1873-1932 Elsevier.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2007-004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gillian Gurish)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.