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Tax Reforms, "Free Lunches", and "Cheap Lunches" in Open Economies

  • Juha Tervala
  • Giovanni Ganelli

This paper focuses on the macroeconomic and budgetary impact of tax reforms in a New Keynesian two-country model. Our results show that both income and consumption unilateral tax rate reductions do not constitute a "free lunch", in the sense that they have negative budgetary consequences for the country which implements them. In addition, the degree of self-financing implied by our model is in the 8½-24 percent range. Since the degree of self-financing estimated in previous literature was larger, we conclude that in our model not only the "lunch" is not "free", but is also not that "cheap". A comparison of alternative (income-tax versus consumption-tax based) fiscal stimulus packages shows that consumption tax cuts imply a larger short-run impact on domestic output but the income tax cuts stimulate the domestic economy more in the long run. We also look at the implications of a revenue-neutral tax reform in which consumption taxes are increased to compensate for lower income tax collection.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/227.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/227
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  1. Lane, P.R. & Ganelli, G., 2002. "Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis: The Open Economy Dimension," CEG Working Papers 20026, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  2. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti, 2001. "Welfare And Macroeconomic Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 421-445, May.
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  7. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1999. "New Directions for Stochastic Open Economy Models," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt5pf7g8sh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Novales, Alfonso & Ruiz, Jesus, 2002. "Dynamic Laffer curves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 181-206, December.
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  18. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Mendoza, Enrique G & Tesar, Linda L, 1998. "The International Ramifications of Tax Reforms: Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 226-45, March.
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