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Ramsey meets Hosios: the optimal capital tax and labor market efficiency

  • David M. Arseneau
  • Sanjay K. Chugh

Heterogeneity between unemployed and employed individuals matters for optimal fiscal policy. This paper considers the consequences of welfare heterogeneity between these two groups for the determination of optimal capital and labor income taxes in a model with matching frictions in the labor market. In line with a recent finding in the literature, we find that the optimal capital tax is typically non-zero because it is used to indirectly mitigate an externality along the extensive labor margin that arises from search and matching frictions. However, the consideration of heterogeneity makes our result differ in an important way: even for a well-known parameter configuration (the Hosios condition) that typically eliminates this externality, we show that the optimal capital income tax is still non-zero. We also show that labor adjustment along the intensive margin has an important effect on efficiency at the extensive margin, and hence on the optimal capital tax, independent of welfare heterogeneity. Taken together, our results show that these two empirically-relevant features of the labor market can have a quantitatively-important effect on the optimal capital tax.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 870.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:870
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  1. Shi, Shouyong & Wen, Quan, 1999. "Labor market search and the dynamic effects of taxes and subsidies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 457-495, April.
  2. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Thomas Lubik & Michael Krause, 2003. "The (Ir)relevance of Real Wage Rigidity in the New Keynesian Model with Search Frictions," Economics Working Paper Archive 504, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  5. Walsh, Carl E., 2003. "Labor Market Search, Sticky Prices, and Interest Rate Policies," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt6tg550dv, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  6. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2006. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 383-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  8. Trigari, Antonella, 2004. "Equilibrium unemployment, job flows and inflation dynamics," Working Paper Series 0304, European Central Bank.
  9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. David Domeij, 2005. "Optimal Capital Taxation and Labor Market Search," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 623-650, July.
  11. Sanjay K. Chugh, 2006. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy with Sticky Wages and Sticky Prices," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 228, Society for Computational Economics.
  12. Chamley, Christophe, 1981. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation in a Growing Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 468-96, June.
  13. Kenneth L. Judd, 2002. "Capital-Income Taxation with Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 417-421, May.
  14. Richard Rogerson & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2004. "Search-Theoretic Models of the Labor Market-A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  16. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
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