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Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Model with Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Shocks

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  • Marcelo Zouain Pedroni

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Sebastian Dyrda

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

This paper studies optimal taxation in the standard incomplete markets model. We formulate a Ramsey problem and solve numerically for the optimal (time varying) paths of proportional capital and labor income taxes, (possibly negative) lump-sum transfers, and government debt. The solution maximizes welfare along the transition between an initial steady state, calibrated to replicate key features of the US economy, and an endogenously determined final steady state. We find that in the optimal (utilitarian) policy: (i) capital income taxes are front-loaded hitting the imposed upper bound of 100 percent for 33 years before decreasing to 45 percent in the long-run; (ii) labor income taxes are reduced to less than half of their initial level, from 28 percent to about 13 percent in the long-run; and (iii) the government accumulates assets over time reducing the debt-to-output ratio from 63 percent to ô€€€17 percent in the long-run. This leads to an average welfare gain equivalent to a permanent 4.9 percent increase in consumption. Though distortive, taxes reduce the variance both cross-sectionally and over time of after-tax income, increasing welfare for both a redistributive and an insurance motive which we quantify.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcelo Zouain Pedroni & Sebastian Dyrda, 2016. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Model with Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Shocks," 2016 Meeting Papers 1245, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:1245
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai & Minjoon Lee & Fudong Zhang, 2020. "The Welfare and Distributional Effects of Fiscal Volatility: a Quantitative Evaluation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 38, pages 127-153, October.
    3. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2018. "Optimal taxes on capital in the OLG model with uninsurable idiosyncratic income risk," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-014, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen, 2019. "Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences," Working Papers 2019-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 24 Apr 2021.
    5. Daniel Carroll & Jim Dolmas & Eric Young, 2021. "The Politics of Flat Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 39, pages 174-201, January.
    6. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai & Minjoon Lee & Fudong Zhang, 2020. "The Welfare and Distributional Effects of Fiscal Volatility: a Quantitative Evaluation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 38, pages 127-153, October.
    7. Axelle Ferriere & Dominik Sachs & Philipp Grubener, 2019. "Public Debt, Redistribution, and Growth," 2019 Meeting Papers 1257, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Yikai Wang & Hans Holter & Marcus Hagedorn, 2015. "The Optimum Quantity of Capital and Debt," 2015 Meeting Papers 1220, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Christos Kotsogiannis & Xavier Mateos-Planas, 2019. "Tax Evasion as Contingent Debt," Discussion Papers 1903, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    10. Tobon Orozco, David & Molina Guerra, Carlos & Vargas Cano, John Harvey, 2016. "Extent of Expected Pigouvian Taxes and Permits for Environmental Services in a General Equilibrium Model with a natural capital constraint," Borradores Departamento de Economía 015258, Universidad de Antioquia - CIE.
    11. Chatterjee, Santanu & Gibson, John & Rioja, Felix, 2017. "Optimal public debt redux," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 162-174.
    12. Kotsogiannis, Christos & Mateos-Planas, Xavier, 2019. "Tax evasion as contingent debt," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 100941, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Minjoon Lee & Jinhui Bai & Fudong Zhang & Ruediger Bachmann, 2014. "The Welfare Costs of Fiscal Uncertainty: a Quantitative Evaluation," 2014 Meeting Papers 744, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Yunmin Chen & YiLi Chien & C.C. Yang, 2017. "Implementing the Modified Golden Rule? Optimal Ramsey Capital Taxation with Incomplete Markets Revisited," Working Papers 2017-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Oct 2020.
    15. Stephie Fried & Kevin Novan & William Peterman, 2018. "The Distributional Effects of a Carbon Tax on Current and Future Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 30-46, October.
    16. Xavier Ragot & Francois Le Grand, 2017. "Optimal Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Aggregate Shocks," 2017 Meeting Papers 969, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. William B. Peterman & Erick Sager, 2018. "Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-028, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    18. YiLi Chien & Yi Wen, 2019. "Don't Tax Capital---Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences," 2019 Meeting Papers 258, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Daniel R. Carroll & Jim Dolmas & Eric R. Young, 2015. "Majority Voting: A Quantitative Investigation," Working Papers (Old Series) 1442, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    20. Galo Nuño & Carlos Thomas, 2016. "Optimal monetary policy with heterogeneous agents (Updated September 2019)," Working Papers 1624, Banco de España, revised Sep 2019.
    21. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti & Peruffo, Marcel Cortes & Cordeiro Valério, André, 2021. "Universal Basic Income in Developing Countries: Pitfalls and Alternatives," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 821, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets

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