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A Tax-Based Test for Nominal Rigidities

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  • James M. Poterba
  • Julio J. Rotemberg
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

In classical macroeconomic models with flexible wages and prices,whether a tax is levied on producers or consumers does not affect its incidence. However, if wages or prices are rigid in the short run, as they are in Keynesian macroeconomic models, then shifting a tax from one side ofthe market to the other may have real effects. Tax changes therefore provide potential tests for the presence of nominal rigidities. This paper examines the price and output effects of revenue-neutral shifts between direct and indirect taxation. The results, based on post-war data from both Great Britain and the United States, reject the view that wages and prices are completely flexible in the short run.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Tax-Based Test for Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 1627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1627 Note: EFG PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Solow, Robert M, 1980. "On Theories of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 1-11, March.
    2. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1984. "A Monetary Equilibrium Model with Transactions Costs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 40-58, February.
    3. Rotemberg, Julio J., 1983. "Monetary policy and costs of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 267-288, February.
    4. J. D. Sargan, 1980. "The Consumer Price Equation in the Post War British Economy: An Exercise in Equation Specification Testing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 113-135.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel R. Feenberg & Andrew W. Mitrusi & James M. Poterba, 1997. "Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 49-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2003. "The role of taxes as automatic destabilizers in New Keynesian economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1123-1136, May.
    3. Anna Lipinska & Leopold von Thadden, 2012. "On the (in)effectiveness of fiscal devaluations in a monetary union," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-71, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Henry, Jerome & Hernandez de Cos, Pablo & Momigliano, Sandro, 2008. "The impact of government budgets on prices: Evidence from macroeconometric models," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 123-143.
    5. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1999. "Error Bands for Impulse Responses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1113-1156, September.
    6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic & Yongzheng Liu, 2011. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: Trends, Theory, and Economic Significance," Chapters,in: The Elgar Guide to Tax Systems, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Taylor, John B., 1999. "Staggered price and wage setting in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1009-1050 Elsevier.
    8. Blinder, Alan S, 1988. "The Challenge of High Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 1-15, May.
    9. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 157-178, June.
    10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic & Yongzheng Liu, 2011. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: Trends, Theory, and Economic Significance," Chapters,in: The Elgar Guide to Tax Systems, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 550-577, November.
    12. Munir, Kashif & Sultan, Maryam, 2016. "Are Some Taxes Better for Growth in Pakistan?A Time Series Analysis," MPRA Paper 68828, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Taylor, John B., 1999. "Staggered price and wage setting in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1009-1050 Elsevier.
    14. Shah, Anwar, 1988. "Public infrastructure and private sector profitability and productivity in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 100, The World Bank.
    15. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9294-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Facundo Alvaredo & Thomas Breda & Barra Roantree & Emmanuel Saez, 2017. "Contribution Ceilings and the Incidence of Payroll Taxes," De Economist, Springer, vol. 165(2), pages 129-140, June.
    17. James M. Poterba, 1991. "Tax Policy to Combat Global Warming: On Designing a Carbon Tax," NBER Working Papers 3649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2010. "The Growth-Inequality Tradeo in the Design of Tax Structure: Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1320, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    19. James M. Poterba, 1993. "Global Warming Policy: A Public Finance Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 47-63, Fall.

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