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Optimal Time-Consistent Taxation with Default

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  • Anastasios G. Karantounias

Abstract

We study optimal time-consistent distortionary taxation when the repayment of government debt is not enforceable. The government taxes labor income or issues noncontingent debt in order to finance an exogenous stream of stochastic government expenditures. The government can repudiate its debt subject to some default costs, thereby introducing some state-contingency to debt. We are motivated by the fact that domestic sovereign default is an empirically relevant phenomenon, as Reinhart and Rogoff (2011) demonstrated. Optimal policy is characterized by two opposing incentives: an incentive to postpone taxes by issuing more debt for the future and an incentive to tax more currently in order to avoid punishing default premia. A generalized Euler equation (GEE) captures these two effects and determines the optimal back-loading or front-loading of tax distortions.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastasios G. Karantounias, 2017. "Optimal Time-Consistent Taxation with Default," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2017-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2017-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fernando Martin, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Government Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 608-631, October.
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    12. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
    13. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes, 2013. "Lack Of Commitment And The Level Of Debt," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1053-1078, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anastasios Karantounias, 2019. "A dynamic theory of the excess burden of taxation," 2019 Meeting Papers 1356, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Si Guo & Yun Pei & Zoe Xie, 2018. "Decentralization and Overborrowing in a Fiscal Federation," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2018-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Si Guo & Yun Pei & Zoe Xie, 2018. "Fiscal Decentralization, Intergovernmental Transfer, and Overborrowing," 2018 Meeting Papers 975, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor tax; sovereign default; Markov-perfect equilibrium; time-consistency; generalized Euler equation; long-term debt;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • 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
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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