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The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence

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Listed:
  • Karel Mertens
  • Morten O. Ravn

Abstract

We provide empirical evidence on the effects of tax liability changes in the United States. We make a distinction between “surprise” and “anticipated” tax shocks. Surprise tax cuts give rise to a large boom in the economy. Anticipated tax liability tax cuts are instead associated with a contraction in output, investment and hours worked prior to their implementation. After their implementation, anticipated tax liability cuts lead to an economic expansion. We build a DSGE model with changes in tax rates that may be anticipated or not, estimate key parameters using a simulation estimator and show that it can account for the main features of the data. We argue that tax shocks are empirically important for U.S. business cycles and that the Reagan tax cut, which was largely anticipated, was a main factor behind the early 1980’s recession.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2008/05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
    2. Brinca, Pedro, 2014. "Distortions in the neoclassical growth model: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-19.
    3. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2009. "How large are the effects of tax changes?," NBER Working Papers 15303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2012. "Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-181, May.
    5. Robert Shimer, 2009. "Convergence in Macroeconomics: The Labor Wedge," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 280-297, January.
    6. Alexander Kriwoluzky, 2008. "Matching Theory and Data: Bayesian Vector Autoregression and Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-060, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    7. Mario Alloza, 2016. "The Impact of Taxes on Income Mobility," Discussion Papers 1632, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    8. Eric Leeper & Todd Walker, 2011. "Information Flows and News Driven Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 55-71, January.
    9. Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2010. "Labor wedges and open economy puzzles," MPRA Paper 31370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. repec:nbr:nberch:13347 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang & Eric M. Leeper, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytical Issues," 2008 Meeting Papers 786, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Eric M. Leeper & Alexander W. Richter & Todd B. Walker, 2012. "Quantitative Effects of Fiscal Foresight," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 115-144, May.
    13. FUJIWARA Ippei & WAKI Yuichiro, 2017. "Fiscal Forward Guidance: A case for selective transparency," Discussion papers 17087, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. repec:bpj:bejmac:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:17:n:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring fiscal expectations," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 72, pages 17-42, September.
    16. Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    17. Vivek Prasad, 2015. "Balanced Budget Tax Cuts in a Liquidity-Constrained Economy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83, pages 87-119, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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