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Subsidies as Optimal Fiscal Stimuli

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  • Hassan Molana
  • Catia Montagna
  • Chang Yee Kwan

Abstract

In the theoretical macroeconomics literature, fiscal policy is almost uniformly taken to mean taxing and spending by a ‘benevolent government’ that exploits the potential aggregate demand externalities inherent in the imperfectly competitive nature of goods markets. Whilst shown to raise aggregate output and employment, these policies crowd-out private consumption and hence typically reduce welfare. In this paper we consider the use of ‘tax-and-subsidise’ instead of ‘tax-and-spend’ policies on account of their widespread use by governments, even in the recent recession, to stimulate economic activity. Within a static general equilibrium macro-model with imperfectly competitive good markets we examine the effect of wage and output subsidies and show that, for a small open economy, positive tax and subsidy rates exist which maximise welfare, rendering no intervention as a suboptimal state. We also show that, within a two-country setting, a Nash non-cooperative symmetric equilibrium with positive tax and subsidy rates exists, and that cooperation between trading partners in setting these rates is more expansionary and leads to an improvement upon the non-cooperative solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Hassan Molana & Catia Montagna & Chang Yee Kwan, 2010. "Subsidies as Optimal Fiscal Stimuli," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 247, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  • Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:247
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    File URL: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/media/dundeewebsite/economicstudies/documents/discussion/DDPE_247.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
    2. Molana, Hassan & Montagna, Catia, 2006. "Aggregate scale economies, market integration, and optimal welfare state policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 321-340, July.
    3. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1996. "Taste for variety and optimum production patterns in monopolistic competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 41-47, July.
    4. Devereux, Michael B, 1991. "The Terms of Trade and the International Coordination of Fiscal Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(4), pages 720-736, October.
    5. Luís F. Costa & Huw Dixon, 2009. "Fiscal Policy under Imperfect Competition: A Survey," Working Papers Department of Economics 2009/25, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    6. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1995. "Complementarities and Cumulative Processes in Models of Monopolistic Competition," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 701-729, June.
    7. Molana, Hassan & Montagna, Catia, 2000. "Market structure, cost asymmetries, and fiscal policy effectiveness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 101-107, July.
    8. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
    9. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1988. "International policy coordination in interdependent monetary economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-23, August.
    10. van der ploeg, F., 1987. "Coordination of optimal taxation in a two-country equilibrium model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 279-285.
    11. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "International Coordination of Fiscal Policy in Limiting Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 617-636, June.
    12. Richard Startz, 1989. "Monopolistic Competition as a Foundation for Keynesian Macroeconomic Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 737-752.
    13. Reinhorn, Leslie J., 1998. "Imperfect competition, the Keynesian cross, and optimal fiscal policy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 331-337, March.
    14. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1991. "Monopolistic competition," Handbook of Mathematical Economics,in: W. Hildenbrand & H. Sonnenschein (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 37, pages 1997-2045 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hassan Molana & Catia Montagna, 2015. "Selection, Trade, and Employment: the Strategic Use of Subsidies," WWWforEurope Policy Paper series 21, WWWforEurope.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; international trade; monopolistic competition; Nash equilibrium; policy coordination; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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