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Taxes, Debts, and Redistributions with Aggregate Shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Anmol Bhandari
  • David Evans
  • Mikhail Golosov
  • Thomas J. Sargent

Abstract

A planner sets a lump sum transfer and a linear tax on labor income in an economy with incomplete markets, heterogeneous agents, and aggregate shocks. The planner's concerns about redistribution impart a welfare cost to fluctuating transfers. The distribution of net asset holdings across agents affects optimal allocations, transfers, and tax rates, but the level of government debt does not. Two forces shape long-run outcomes: the planner's desire to minimize the welfare costs of fluctuating transfers, which calls for a negative correlation between the distribution of net assets and agents' skills; and the planner's desire to use fluctuations in the real interest rate to adjust for missing state-contingent securities. In a model parameterized to match stylized facts about US booms and recessions, distributional concerns mainly determine optimal policies over business cycle frequencies. These features of optimal policy differ markedly from ones that emerge from representative agent Ramsey models like Aiyagari et al (2002).

Suggested Citation

  • Anmol Bhandari & David Evans & Mikhail Golosov & Thomas J. Sargent, 2013. "Taxes, Debts, and Redistributions with Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 19470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19470
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Reis & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Optimal Automatic Stabilizers," 2015 Meeting Papers 608, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Wei Cui & Sören Radde, 2014. "Search-Based Endogenous Illiquidity and the Macroeconomy," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1367, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2017. "Reducing government debt in the presence of inequality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2017. "Optimal Time-Consistent Government Debt Maturity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 55-102.
    5. François Legrand & Xavier Ragot, 2016. "Optimal policy with heterogeneous agents and aggregate shocks : An application to optimal public debt dynamics," 2016 Meeting Papers 1272, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Yanlei Ma, 2014. "Income Inequality, Political Polarization and Fiscal Policy Gridlock," 2014 Meeting Papers 547, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Thomas Sargent & Mikhail Golosov & David Evans & anmol bhandari, 2014. "Optimal Taxation with Incomplete Markets," 2014 Meeting Papers 1276, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Chatzouz, Moustafa, 2014. "Government Debt and Wealth Inequality: Theory and Insights from Altruism," MPRA Paper 77007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ferrière, Axelle & Karantounias, Anastasios G., 2016. "Fiscal austerity in ambiguous times," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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