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Debt in the U.S. Economy

  • Kaiji Chenz

    (Department of Economics, Emory University, Atlanta)

  • Ayse Imrohoroglu

    ()

    (Department of Finance and Business Economics, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California)

In 2011, the publicly held debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States reached 68% and is expected to continue rising. Many proposals to curb the government deficit and the resulting debt are being discussed. In this paper, we use the standard neoclassical growth model to examine the future path of output, budget deficits, and debt in the U.S. economy under different tax policies. While this framework is relatively simple, it incorporates the general equilibrium effects of tax policy, which are often missing from the Congressional Budget Office projections. Our results show that debt-to-GNP ratios above 100% are likely to continue into the future and that even small labor supply elasticities have a significant impact on these projections. We also find that labor income tax rates higher than 40% are needed for the deficit-to-GNP ratio to return to its historical level in the long run. Such high tax rates, however, result in about 10% lower per capita GNP and large welfare costs at the steady state compared to the historical tax rates.

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File URL: http://eaf.ku.edu.tr/sites/eaf.ku.edu.tr/files/erf_wp_1401.pdf
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Paper provided by Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum in its series Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers with number 1401.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1401
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  1. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2011. "Fiscal volatility shocks and economic activity," Working Papers 11-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 05 Jan 2012.
  2. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2010. "How far are we from the slippery slope? The Laffer curve revisited," Working Paper Series 1174, European Central Bank.
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  9. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
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  11. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Weinzierl, Matthew, 2006. "Dynamic scoring: A back-of-the-envelope guide," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1415-1433, September.
  12. Chen, Kaiji & Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "A quantitative assessment of the decline in the U.S. current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1135-1147, November.
  13. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2011. "The Laffer curve revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 305-327.
  14. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-Term Changes in Labor Supply and Taxes: Evidence from OECD Countries, 1956-2004," NBER Working Papers 12786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. R. Anton Braun & Daisuke Ikeda & Douglas H. Joines, 2009. "The Saving Rate In Japan: Why It Has Fallen And Why It Will Remain Low," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 291-321, 02.
  16. Ireland, Peter N., 1994. "Supply-side economics and endogenous growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 559-571, June.
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