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The Bush Tax Cut and National Saving

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  • Alan J. Auerbach

Abstract

Following through on pledges made during his election campaign, President Bush proposed and Congress passed a substantial tax cut in 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA). Much has been written about the size of the tax cut, its impact on the federal budget, its distributional consequences, and its short-run macroeconomic impact. There has been less focus on EGTRRA's incentive effects; one of the most important potential behavioral effects is on saving. To analyze the behavioral effects of the Bush tax cut on saving and other macroeconomic variables, I use the Auerbach-Kotlikoff (1987) model in conjunction with the NBER's TAXSIM model. An interesting by-product of this analysis is the 'dynamic scorin g' of the tax cut - the estimated feedback effects of behavior on revenue. By comparing the revenue losses generated by the model with those that would occur without any behavioral response, one can estimate how much of the static revenue loss would be recouped by expanded economic activity. The simulations suggest that dynamic scoring has a significant impact on estimated revenue losses, but that the tax cut's impact on national saving is still negative in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach, 2002. "The Bush Tax Cut and National Saving," NBER Working Papers 9012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan J. Auerbach, 2000. "Formation of fiscal policy: the experience of the past twenty-five years," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 9-23.
    2. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    3. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
    4. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    6. Calomiris, Charles W. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2002. "Marginal Tax Rate Cuts and the Public Tax Debate," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 119-131, March.
    7. Alan J. Auerbach, 1996. "Dynamic Revenue Estimation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 141-157, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    2. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    3. Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher L. House, 2006. "Phased-In Tax Cuts and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1835-1849, December.
    4. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2015. "U.S. Trend Inflation Reinterpreted: The Role Of Fiscal Policies And Time-Varying Nominal Rigidities," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(06), pages 1294-1308, September.
    5. Kitao, Sagiri, 2010. "Short-run fiscal policy: Welfare, redistribution and aggregate effects in the short and long-run," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2109-2125, October.
    6. Bandyopadhyay, Gopal & Bagheri, Fathollah & Mann, Michael, 2007. "Reduction of fossil fuel emissions in the USA: A holistic approach towards policy formulation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 950-965, February.
    7. Zodrow, George R. & Diamond, John W., 2013. "Dynamic Overlapping Generations Computable General Equilibrium Models and the Analysis of Tax Policy: The Diamond–Zodrow Model," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    8. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Robert E. Moore, 2007. "Assessing the welfare impact of the 2001 tax reform on dual-earner families," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2007-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. Eric M. Leeper, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Inflation: Pondering the Imponderables," NBER Working Papers 9506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Tracy Foertsch, 2004. "Macroeconomic Impacts of Stylized Tax Cuts in an Intertemporal Computable General Equilibrium Model: Technical Paper 2004-11," Working Papers 15914, Congressional Budget Office.
    11. William Gale & Peter Orszag, 2005. "Economic Effects of Making the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Permanent," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(2), pages 193-232, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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