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Capital Tax Reforms With Policy Uncertainty

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  • Arpad Abraham
  • Pavel Brendler
  • Eva Carceles

Abstract

One important feature of capital tax reforms is uncertainty regarding their duration. We use the Bush Tax cuts as the leading example to illustrate how uncertainty about reform duration may affect the economy’s path and erode political support for the reform. We model policy uncertainty by assuming that the reform may be either repealed or made permanent with some probability at a predetermined date. We show that policy uncertainty is a critical ingredient that can explain why the Bush tax cuts had no economically significant effect on investment, as confirmed empirically by Yagan (2015). While the permanent reform leads to positive aggregate welfare gains on impact, policy uncertainty may reverse this result. These observations hold both in a model with a representative firm and heterogeneous firms, but adding firm heterogeneity generates an interesting implication. In contrast to the permanent reform, policy uncertainty increases the TPF since it dampens investment by mature, less productive firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Arpad Abraham & Pavel Brendler & Eva Carceles, 2021. "Capital Tax Reforms With Policy Uncertainty," Department of Economics Working Papers 21-01, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:21-01
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    File URL: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/economics/research/papers/2021/PolicyUncertainty_2101.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Capital Tax Reforms With Policy Uncertainty
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2021-04-12 18:36:30

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