The taxation of savings in overlapping generations economies with unbacked risky assets
This paper establishes, in the context of the Diamond (1965) overlapping generations economy with production, that the risk that savings in unbacked assets (like fiat money or public debt) become worthless implies that, not only the first-best steady state, but even the best steady state attainable with those saving instruments fails to be a competitive equilibrium outcome under laissez-faire. It is nonetheless shown as well that this best monetary steady state can be implemented as a competitive equilibrium with the adequate policy of taxes on returns to capital, subsidies to returns to monetary savings, and lump-sum transfers. Interestingly enough, this policy requires no redistribution of income among agents, unlike the implementation of the first-best steady state. The policy is balanced every period at the steady state and, since no public spending exists in the model, it serves the only purpose of implementing a steady state that provides all agents with a higher utility than the laissez-faire competitive equilibrium steady state. The results thus provide a rationale for an active fiscal policy that has nothing to do with redistributive goals or the need to fund any kind of public sending
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