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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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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. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2006. "Linear-Quadratic Approximation of Optimal Policy Problems," CEPR Discussion Papers 5964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Henry Kim, 1999. "Spurious Welfare Reversals in International Business Cycle Models," Virginia Economics Online Papers 319, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  3. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Solving Dynamic General Equilibrium Models Using a Second-Order Approximation to the Policy Function," NBER Technical Working Papers 0282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  6. 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.).
  7. Jinill Kim & Dale W. Henderson, 2002. "Inflation targeting and nominal income growth targeting: when and why are they suboptimal?," International Finance Discussion Papers 719, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model," Staff Report 160, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Kim & Ernst Schaumburg & Christopher A. Sims, 2003. "Calculating and Using Second Order Accurate Solutions of Discrete Time," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000284, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Woodford Michael, 2002. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-53, February.
  11. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1990. "Recursive Linear Models of Dynamic Economies," NBER Working Papers 3479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  15. Hans M. Amman & David A. Kendrick, . "Computational Economics," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number comp1.
  16. Magill, Michael J. P., 1977. "A local analysis of N-sector capital accumulation under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 211-219, June.
  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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