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Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy with Limited Commitment

  • Sofia Bauducco
  • Francesco Caprioli

We introduce limited commitment into a standard optimal fiscal policy model in small open economies. We consider the problem of a benevolent government that signs a risk-sharing contract with the rest of the world, and that has to choose optimally distortionary taxes on labor income, domestic debt and international debt. Both the home country and the rest of the world may have limited commitment, which means that they can leave the contract if they find it convenient. The contract is designed so that, at any point in time, neither party has incentives to exit. We define a small open emerging economy as one where the limited commitment problem is active in equilibrium. Conversely, a small open developed economy is an economy with full commitment. Our model is able to rationalize two stylized facts about fiscal policy in emerging economies: i) the volatility of tax revenues over GDP is higher in emerging economies than in developed ones; ii) the volatility of tax revenues over GDP is positively correlated with sovereign default risk.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 644.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:644
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