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Optimal Government Policies in Models with Heterogeneous Agents

  • Radim Bohacek
  • Michal Kejak

In this paper we develop a new methodology for finding optimal government policies in economies with heterogeneous agents. The methodology is solely based on three classes of equilibrium conditions from the government’s and individual agent’s optimization problems: 1) the first order conditions; 2) the stationarity condition on the distribution function; and, 3) the aggregate market clearing conditions. These conditions form a system of functional equations which we solve numerically. The solution takes into account simultaneously the effect of government policy on individual allocations and (from the government’s point of view) optimal distribution of agents in the steady state. This general methodology is applicable to a wide range of optimal government policies in models with heterogeneous agents. We illustrate it on a steady state Ramsey problem with heterogeneous agents, finding the optimal tax schedule. JEL Keywords: Optimal macroeconomic policy, optimal taxation, computational techniques, heterogeneous agents, distribution of wealth and income

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp272.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp272
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  1. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. David Domeij & Jonathan Heathcote, 2004. "On The Distributional Effects Of Reducing Capital Taxes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-554, 05.
  4. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Progressive Capital Income Taxes in the Infinite Horizon Model," NBER Working Papers 9046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
  6. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Albert Marcet & Eva Ventura, 1995. "Supply side interventions and redistribution," Economics Working Papers 115, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  8. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  9. Radim Bohacek & Michal Kejak, 2005. "Projection Methods for Economies with Heterogeneous Agents," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp258, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  10. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  11. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
  13. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  14. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 317-39, June.
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