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Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks

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  • Mertens, Karel
  • Ravn, Morten O

Abstract

We evaluate the extent to which a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model can account for the impact of "surprise" and "anticipated" tax shocks estimated from U.S. time-series data. In U.S. data, surprise tax cuts have expansionary and persistent effects on output, consumption, investment and hours worked. Anticipated tax liability tax cuts give rise to contractions in output, investment and hours worked before their implementation while thereafter giving rise to an economic expansion. A DSGE model with changes in tax rates that may be anticipated or not, is shown to be able to account for the empirically estimated impact of tax shocks. The important features of the model include adjustment costs, variable capacity utilization and consumption habits. We derive Hicksian decompositions of the consumption and labor supply responses and show that substitution effects are key for understanding the impact of tax shocks. When allowing for rule-of-thumb consumers, we find that the estimate of their share of the population is only around 10-11 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2009. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7505
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    Keywords

    anticipation effects; fiscal policy; structural estimation; tax liabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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