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Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model

  • V. V. Chari
  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

This paper develops the quantitative implications of optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model. In a stationary equilibrium the ex ante tax rate on capital income is approximately zero. There is an equivalence class of ex post capital income tax rates and bond policies that support a given allocation. Within this class the optimal ex post capital tax rates can range from being close to i.i.d. to being close to a random walk. The tax rate on labor income fluctuates very little and inherits the persistence properties of the exogenous shocks and thus there is no presumption that optimal labor tax rates follow a random walk. The welfare gains from smoothing labor tax rates and making ex ante capital income tax rates zero are small and most of the welfare gains come from an initial period of high taxation on capital income.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 160.

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Date of creation: 1993
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:160
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  1. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  2. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Distortions in a Neoclassical Monetary Economy," Papers 91-01, Rochester, Business - General.
  3. Zhu, Xiaodong, 1992. "Optimal fiscal policy in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 250-289, December.
  4. anonymous, 1993. "Florida likely to post moderate growth in 1994," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Oct, pages 7-9.
  5. A. B. Atkinson, 1971. "Capital Taxes, the Redistribution of Wealth and Individual Savings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 209-227.
  6. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 4490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Garnaut, Ross & Ma, Guonan, 1993. "Economic growth and stability in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 5-24.
  9. Christiano, Lawrence J., 1988. "Why does inventory investment fluctuate so much?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 247-280.
  10. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 1993. "Growth and the Effects of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E & Rossi, Peter E, 1993. "Optimal Taxation in Models of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 485-517, June.
  14. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1972. "The structure of indirect taxation and economic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 97-119, April.
  15. Pestieau, P. M., 1974. "Optimal taxation and discount rate for public investment in a growth setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 217-235, August.
  16. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
  17. Martin L. Weitzman, 1973. "Duality Theory for Infinite Horizon Convex Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(7), pages 783-789, March.
  18. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  19. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-52, October.
  20. Atkinson, A B & Sandmo, A, 1980. "Welfare Implications of the Taxation of Savings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(359), pages 529-49, September.
  21. anonymous, 1993. "Southeastern job growth will quicken in 1994," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Oct, pages 1-4.
  22. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  23. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  25. anonymous, 1993. "Georgia should lead region in growth in '94," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Oct, pages 9-12.
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  1. Quantitative Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycles (QM&RBC)

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