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Optimal labor-income tax volatility with credit frictions

  • Abo-Zaid, Salem

This paper studies the optimality of labor tax smoothing in a simple model with credit frictions. Firms’ borrowing to pay their wage payments in advance is constrained by the value of their collateral at the beginning of the period. The labor tax and the shadow value on the credit constraint lead to a (static) wedge between the marginal product of labor and the marginal rate of substitution between labor and consumption. This paper suggests that while the notion of “wedge smoothing” is carried over to this environment, it is achieved only through a volatile labor-income tax rate. As the shadow value on the financing constraint varies over the business cycle, tax volatility is needed in order to counteract this variation and thus allow for “wedge smoothing”. In particular, the optimal labor-income tax rate is lower when the credit market is more tightened and higher when the credit market is less tightened. Therefore, when firms are more credit-constrained and the demand for labor is reduced, optimal fiscal policy calls for boosting labor supply by lowering the labor-income tax rate.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/39083/1/MPRA_paper_39083.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39083.

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Date of creation: 11 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39083
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  1. Torben M. Andersen & Robert R. Dogonowski, 2004. "What Should Optimal Income Taxes Smooth?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(3), pages 491-507, 08.
  2. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  3. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-52, August.
  4. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2009. "Tax smoothing in frictional labor markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 965, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," Departmental Working Papers 200105, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  6. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 519-546.
  7. Thomas Chaney & David Sraer & David Thesmar, 2012. "The Collateral Channel: How Real Estate Shocks Affect Corporate Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2381-2409, October.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  9. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst, 1996. "Agency costs, net worth, and business fluctuations: a computable general equilibrium analysis," Working Paper 9602, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. 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.
  11. Matteo Iacoviello, 2005. "House Prices, Borrowing Constraints, and Monetary Policy in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 739-764, June.
  12. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst & Matthias Paustian, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model with Agency Costs," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 37-70, 09.
  13. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Solving Dynamic General Equilibrium Models Using a Second-Order Approximation to the Policy Function," Departmental Working Papers 200106, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  14. Abo-Zaid, Salem, 2013. "On credit frictions as labor–income taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 287-292.
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