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Optimal Taxation in an RBC Model: A Linear-Quadratic Approach

  • Pierpaolo Benigno
  • Michael Woodford

We reconsider the optimal taxation of income from labor and capital in the stochastic growth model analyzed by Chari et al. (1994, 1995), but using a linear-quadratic (LQ) approximation to derive a log-linear approximation to the optimal policy rules. The example illustrates how inaccurate "naive" LQ approximation --- in which the quadratic objective is obtained from a simple Taylor expansion of the utility function of the representative household --- can be, but also shows how a correct LQ approximation can be obtained, which will provide a correct local approximation to the optimal policy rules in the case of small enough shocks. We also consider the numerical accuracy of the LQ approximation in the case of shocks of the size assumed in the calibration of Chari et al. We find that the correct LQ approximation yields results that are quite accurate, and similar in most respects to the results obtained by Chari et al. using a more computationally intensive numerical method.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11029.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11029.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Publication status: published as Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2006. "Optimal taxation in an RBC model: A linear-quadratic approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1445-1489.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11029
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Kim & Ernst Schaumburg & Christopher A. Sims, 2003. "Calculating and using second order accurate solutions of discrete time dynamic equilibrium models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  9. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
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  13. Hans M. Amman & David A. Kendrick, . "Computational Economics," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number comp1, December.
  14. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 8071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  17. Judd, Kenneth L., 1996. "Approximation, perturbation, and projection methods in economic analysis," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: H. M. Amman & D. A. Kendrick & J. Rust (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 509-585 Elsevier.
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