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Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks

  • Mertens, Karel
  • Ravn, Morten O

We provide empirical evidence on the dynamic effects of tax liability changes in the United States. We distinguish between surprise and anticipated tax changes using a timing-convention. We document that pre-announced but not yet implemented tax cuts give rise to contractions in output, investment and hours worked while real wages increase. In contrast, there are no significant anticipation effects on aggregate consumption. Implemented tax cuts, regardless of their timing, have expansionary and persistent effects on output, consumption, investment, hours worked and real wages. Results are shown to be very robust. We argue that tax shocks are empirically important impulses to the U.S. business cycle and that anticipation effects have been important during several business cycle episodes.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7370.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7370
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  1. Karel Mertens & Morten Overgaard Ravn, 2011. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 27-54, January.
  2. Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," 2006 Meeting Papers 31, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  6. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  7. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2003. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," IDEI Working Papers 158, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  8. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2005. "The Incredible Volcker Disinflation," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  9. Jean-Pierre DANTHINE & John B. DONALDSON & Thore JOHNSEN, 1997. "Productivity Growth, Consumer Confidence and the Business Cycle," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9711, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The effects of monetary policy shocks: evidence from the Flow of Funds," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher L. House, 2006. "Phased-In Tax Cuts and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1835-1849, December.
  12. Heim, Bradley T., 2007. "The Effect of Tax Rebates on Consumption Expenditures: Evidence from State Tax Rebates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(4), pages 685-710, December.
  13. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hall, Robert E, 1971. "The Dynamic Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Economy With Foresight," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 229-44, April.
  15. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2008. "The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/05, European University Institute.
  16. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  17. Karel Mertens & MortenO. Ravn, 2010. "Measuring the Impact of Fiscal Policy in the Face of Anticipation: A Structural VAR Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 393-413, 05.
  18. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  19. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  20. Susan Yang, Shu-Chun, 2005. "Quantifying tax effects under policy foresight," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1557-1568, November.
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