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The Perils of Tax Smoothing: Sustainable Fiscal Policy with Random Shocks to Permanent Output

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  • Mr. Evan C Tanner
  • Mr. Kevin J Carey

Abstract

If permanent output is uncertain, tax smoothing can be perilous: both debt levels and tax rates are difficult to stabilize and may drift upwards. One practical remedy would be to target the debt. However, our simulations confirm that such a policy would require undesirably volatile fiscal adjustments and may inhibit countercyclical borrowing. An alternative would be to link the primary surplus not only to the debt ratio (like tax smoothing) but also to its volatility, thus preempting further adjustments while gradually reducing the debt.

Suggested Citation

  • Mr. Evan C Tanner & Mr. Kevin J Carey, 2005. "The Perils of Tax Smoothing: Sustainable Fiscal Policy with Random Shocks to Permanent Output," IMF Working Papers 2005/207, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:2005/207
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    Cited by:

    1. Hostland, Doug & Karam, Philippe, 2006. "Assessing debt sustainability in emerging market economies using stochastic simulation methods," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3821, The World Bank.
    2. Bernardo Maggi, 2015. "(Why) Is the Euro system intrinsically unstable?," DSS Empirical Economics and Econometrics Working Papers Series 2015/1, Centre for Empirical Economics and Econometrics, Department of Statistics, "Sapienza" University of Rome.
    3. Carlos Garcia & Jorge Restrepo & Evan Tanner, 2007. "Designing fiscal rules for commodity exporters," ILADES-UAH Working Papers inv199, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 2008. "Jamaica: Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 2008/198, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Strawczynski, Michel & Zeira, Joseph, 2009. "Cyclicality of Fiscal Policy: Permanent and Transitory Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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