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Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes

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  • Kimball, Miles S.
  • Mankiw, N. Gregory

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of government debt and income taxes on consumption and saving in a world of infinitely lived house- holds having uncertain and heterogeneous incomes. The special structure of the model allows exact aggregation across households despite incomplete markets. The effects of government debt are shown to be substantial, roughly comparable to those resulting from finite horizons, and crucially dependent on the length of time until the debt is repaid. Also, anticipated changes in taxes are shown to cause anticipated changes in consumption. Finally, an index of fiscal stance is derived.

Suggested Citation

  • Kimball, Miles S. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Scholarly Articles 3443105, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3443105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Chan, Louis Kuo Chi, 1983. "Uncertainty and the neutrality of government financing policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-372.
    4. Hayne E. Leland, 1968. "Saving and Uncertainty: The Precautionary Demand for Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 465-473.
    5. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
    6. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    7. Barsky, Robert B & Mankiw, N Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1986. "Ricardian Consumers with Keynesian Propensities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 676-691, September.
    8. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    9. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1987. "Finite lifetimes and the effects of budget deficits on national saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 369-391, September.
    10. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
    11. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
    12. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
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