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Anticipated Ramsey Reforms and the Uniform Taxation Principle: the Role of International Financial Markets

  • Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe
  • Martin Uribe

This paper studies the role of asset-market completeness for the properties of optimal policy. A suitable framework for this purpose is the small open economy with complete international asset markets. For in this environment changes in policy represent country-specific risk diversifiable in world markets. Our main finding is that the fundamental public finance principle whereby when taxes on all final goods are available, it is optimal to tax final goods uniformly fails to obtain. In general, uniform taxation is optimal because it amounts to a nondistorting tax on fixed factors of production. In the open economy this principle fails because when households can insure against the risk of a policy reform, initial private asset holdings are contingent on actual policy and thus no longer represent an inelastically supplied source of income. Two further differences between optimal policy in the closed and open economies with complete markets are: (a) In the open economy, optimal consumption and income tax rates are unchanged in response to government purchases shocks. By contrast, in the closed economy tax rates do respond to innovations in public spending. (b) In the open economy, the Friedman rule is optimal only if the Ramsey planner has access to consumption taxes. In the absence of consumption taxes, deviations from the Friedman rule are large. On the other hand, in the closed economy, the availability of either consumption or income taxes suffices to render the Friedman rule optimal.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9862.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9862
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  1. Stockman, Alan C, 1980. "A Theory of Exchange Rate Determination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 673-98, August.
  2. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy under Imperfect Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 2688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Cunha, Alexandre B., 2002. "Optimal Exchange Rate Policy, Optimal Incomplete Taxation and Business Cycles," Insper Working Papers wpe_16, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  4. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Staff Report 147, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "An Exploration in the Theory of Exchange-Rate Regimes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 865-90, October.
  7. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1984. "The role of saving and investment in exchange rate determination under alternative monetary mechanisms," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 307-325, May.
  8. Correia, Isabel & Teles, Pedro, 1996. "Is the Friedman Rule Optimal When Money is an Intermediate Good?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Cunha, Alexandre B., 2002. "Optimal Exchange Rate Policy and Business Cycles," Insper Working Papers wpe_19, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  10. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  11. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 540-42, August.
  12. ColemanII, Wilbur John, 2000. "Welfare and optimum dynamic taxation of consumption and income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-39, April.
  13. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1986. "Temporary Stabilization: Predetermined Exchange Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1319-29, December.
  14. Guidotti, Pablo E. & Vegh, Carlos A., 1993. "The optimal inflation tax when money reduces transactions costs : A reconsideration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-205, April.
  15. Jordi Gali & Tommaso Monacelli, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 438, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Nov 1999.
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