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Balanced-budget rules, distortionary taxes, and aggregate instability


  • Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe
  • Martin Uribe


A traditional argument against a balanced-budget fiscal policy rule is that it amplifies business cycles by stimulating aggregate demand during booms via tax cuts and higher public expenditures and by reducing demand during recessions through a corresponding fiscal contraction. This paper suggests an additional source of instability that may arise from this type of fiscal policy rule. It shows that, within the standard neoclassical growth model, a balanced-budget rule can make expectations of higher tax rates self-fulfilling if the fiscal authority relies heavily on changes in labor income taxes to eliminate short-run fiscal imbalances. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.
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  • Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1995. "Balanced-budget rules, distortionary taxes, and aggregate instability," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:95-44

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cooley, Thomas F. & Hansen, Gary D., 1992. "Tax distortions in a neoclassical monetary economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 290-316, December.
    2. Gali Jordi, 1994. "Monopolistic Competition, Business Cycles, and the Composition of Aggregate Demand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 73-96, June.
    3. Shigoka Tadashi, 1994. "A Note on Woodford's Conjecture: Constructing Stationary Sunspot Equilibria in a Continuous Time Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 531-540, December.
    4. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
    5. Benhabib Jess & Farmer Roger E. A., 1994. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-41, June.
    6. Farmer Roger E. A. & Guo Jang-Ting, 1994. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 42-72, June.
    7. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
    8. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    9. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
    10. Christiano, Lawrence J., 1988. "Why does inventory investment fluctuate so much?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 247-280.
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    Budget ; Taxation;


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