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The Inconsistency Puzzle Resolved: an Omitted Variable

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  • Nikolay Arefiev

Abstract

The contemporary version of the dynamic Ramsey problem omits expectations of a household’s initial lump-sum wealth taxation due to policy revision; therefore, the attainable resource allocation set in this problem is ill-defined. This omission leads to misleading conclusions about the optimal policy in the short run and, in particular, that the Ramsey policy is dynamically inconsistent. The effect of introducing the expectations into the analysis of dynamic inconsistency is similar to that of introducing expected inflation into the Phillips curve: we show that only an unexpected policy surprise affects the attainable resource allocation set and the optimal policy. In contrast to Chamley (1986), we show that intensive capital income taxation at the beginning of an optimal policy does not imply a lump-sum taxation of household wealth and cannot reduce the excess tax burden. We also demonstrate that the Ramsey policy is dynamically consistent even without commitment. We resolve the Ramsey problem and compare our results to those of Chamley on optimal capital income taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikolay Arefiev, 2008. "The Inconsistency Puzzle Resolved: an Omitted Variable," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2008_15, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  • Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2008_15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
    2. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1522-1542, December.
    3. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1996. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 203-223, April.
    4. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
    5. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    6. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-539, August.
    7. Judd, Kenneth L., 1999. "Optimal taxation and spending in general competitive growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-26, January.
    8. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
    9. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    10. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arefiev, Nikolay & Baron, Tatyana, 2006. "Capital Taxation and Rent Seeking," MPRA Paper 9988, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consistency; Equilibrium policy; Optimal taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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