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Aggregate demand management with multiple equilibria

  • Huberto M. Ennis
  • Todd Keister

We study optimal government policy in an economy where (i) search frictions create a coordination problem and generate multiple Pareto-ranked equilibria and (ii). The government finances the provision of a public good by taxing trade. The government must choose the tax rate before it knows which equilibrium will obtain, and therefore an important part of the problem is determining how the policy will affect the equilibrium selection process. We show that when the equilibrium selection rule is based on the concept of risk dominance, higher tax rates make coordination on the Pareto-superior outcome less likely. As a result, taking equilibrium-selection effects into account leads to a lower optimal tax rate. We also show that public-employment policies that appear to be inefficient based on a standard equilibrium analysis may be justifiable if they influence the equilibrium selection process.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 03-04.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:03-04
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  1. Smith, Bruce D, 1991. "Interest on Reserves and Sunspot Equilibria: Friedman's Proposal Reconsidered," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 93-105, January.
  2. Howitt, P. & Mcfee, R.P., 1990. "Animal Spirits," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9005, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  3. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  4. Carlsson, H. & van Damme, E.E.C., 1990. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Discussion Paper 1990-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  6. John Dagsvik & Boyan Jovanovic, 1991. "Was the Great Depression a Low-Level Equilibrium?," NBER Working Papers 3726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2005. "Government policy and the probability of coordination failures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 939-973, May.
  8. Grandmont Jean-michel, 1985. "Stabilizing competitive business cycles," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8518, CEPREMAP.
  9. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Paper 0015, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  11. John B Van Huyck & Raymond C Battalio & Richard O Beil, 1997. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1225, David K. Levine.
  12. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Reichlin, Pietro, 1986. "Equilibrium cycles in an overlapping generations economy with production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 89-102, October.
  14. S. Morris & R. Rob & H. Shin, 2010. "p-dominance and Belief Potential," Levine's Working Paper Archive 505, David K. Levine.
  15. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
  16. Cooper, Russell & Corbae, Dean, 2002. "Financial Collapse: A Lesson from the Great Depression," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 159-190, December.
  17. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1991. "Strategic Uncertainty, Equilibrium Selection, and Coordination Failure in Average Opinion Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 885-910, August.
  18. Woodford, Michael, 1986. "Stationary sunspot equilibria in a finance constrained economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 128-137, October.
  19. Keister, Todd, 1998. "Money Taxes and Efficiency When Sunspots Matter," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 43-68, November.
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