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The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either

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  • Roberto Perotti

Abstract

In a seminal contribution, Romer and Romer (2010) (RR henceforth) estimate GDP tax multipliers of up to -3 after 3 years. These results have been criticized as implausibly large. For instance, Favero and Giavazzi (2010) (FG henceforth) argue RR's specification cannot be interpreted as a proper (truncated) moving average representation of the output process. They show that when the system is estimated in its VAR form, or its correct truncated MA representation, a unit realization of the RR shock has much smaller effects on GDP than in RR, typically about - .5 percentage points of GDP. I argue that on theoretical grounds the discretionary component of taxation should be allowed to have different effects than the automatic response of tax revenues to macroeconomic variables; existing approaches, including FG's, that do not allow for this difference, exhibit impulse responses that are biased towards 0. I show that the correct impulse responses to a RR tax shock are about half-way between the large effects estimated by RR and the much smaller effects estimated by FG: typically, a one percentage point of GDP increase in taxes leads to a decline in GDP by about 1.5 percentage points after 3 years. I also create two new datasets of tax shocks, one based on receipts and the other on liabilities; in these datasets, I distinguish between different types of taxes (personal, corporate, indirect, and social security) and their subcomponents.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Perotti, 2011. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either," NBER Working Papers 16786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16786
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2012. "Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-181, May.
    2. Ryan Chahrour & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2012. "A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 28-45, May.
    3. Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcello M. Estevão & Issouf Samaké, 2013. "The Economic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation with Debt Feedback," IMF Working Papers 13/136, International Monetary Fund.
    2. repec:ifs:fistud:v:38:y:2017:i::p:219-267 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Daniel Riera-Crichton & Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2017. "Tax policy and the macroeconomy: Measurement, identification, and non-linearities," Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 35(82), pages 10-17, April.
    4. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2013. "The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1212-1247, June.
    5. Tommaso Monacelli & Roberto Perotti & Antonella Trigari, 2013. "Taxes and the Labor Market," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 2, pages 27-58 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Hernando Vargas & Andrés González & Ignacio Lozano, 2015. "Macroeconomic Gains from Structural Fiscal Policy Adjustments: The Case of Colombia," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 39-81, February.
    7. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O., 2014. "A reconciliation of SVAR and narrative estimates of tax multipliers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 1-19.
    8. Francesco Caprioli & Sandro Momigliano, 2011. "The effects of fiscal shocks with debt-stabilizing budgetary policies in Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 839, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Florian Wöhlbier & Caterina Astarita & Gilles Mourre, 2014. "Consolidation on the revenue side and growth-friendly tax structures: an indicator based approach," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 513, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    10. Daniel Riera-Crichton & Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2017. "Tax policy and the macroeconomy: Measurement, identification, and non-linearities," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 35(82), pages 10-17, April.
    11. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Tax multipliers: Pitfalls in measurement and identification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 30-48.
    12. Bernd Hayo & Matthias Uhl, 2015. "Regional effects of federal tax shocks," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 343-360, October.
    13. Anja Baum & Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro & Anke Weber, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers and the State of the Economy," IMF Working Papers 12/286, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Antoine Goujard, 2017. "Cross‐Country Spillovers from Fiscal Consolidations," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 219-267, June.
    15. Olivier Cardi & Romain Restout, 2014. "Unanticipated vs. Anticipated Tax Reforms in a Two-Sector Open Economy," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 373-406, April.
    16. Luigi, Bernardi, 2011. "Economic crisis and taxation in Europe," MPRA Paper 31007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2011. "A retrospective evaluation of elements of the EU VAT system," Taxation Studies 0039, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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