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Does Redistribution Increase Output? The Centrality of Labor Supply

Listed author(s):
  • Athreya, Kartik B.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

  • Owens, Andrew

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

  • Schwartzman, Felipe

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

The aftermath of the recent recession has seen numerous calls to use transfers to poorer households as a means to enhance aggregate activity. We show that the key to understanding the direction and size of such interventions lies in labor supply decisions. We study the aggregate impact of short-term redistributive economic policy in a standard incomplete-markets model. We characterize analytically conditions under which redistribution leads to an increase or decrease in effective hours worked, and hence, output. We then show that under the parameterization that matches the wealth distribution in the U.S. economy (Castaneda et al., 2003), wealth redistribution leads to a boom in consumption, but not in output.

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File URL: http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/working_papers/2014/pdf/wp14-04.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 14-4.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 28 Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:14-04
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  1. Jonathan Heathcote, 2005. "Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 161-188.
  2. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2014. "Fiscal Policy and MPC Heterogeneity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 107-136, October.
  3. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  4. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
  5. Oh, Hyunseung & Reis, Ricardo, 2012. "Targeted transfers and the fiscal response to the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 50-64.
  6. Alisdair McKay & Ricardo Reis, 2016. "The Role of Automatic Stabilizers in the U.S. Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 141-194, January.
  7. Jonathan Huntley & Valentina Michelangeli, 2014. "Can Tax Rebates Stimulate Consumption Spending in a Life-Cycle Model?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 162-189, January.
  8. Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge & Rogerson, Richard, 2010. "Taxes, transfers and employment in an incomplete markets model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 949-958, November.
  9. J. Stephen Ferris, 2013. "Fiscal policy," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition, chapter 16, pages 260-283 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  10. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
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