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Optimal Fiscal Policy When Migration is Feasible

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  • Filippo Occhino

    () (Rutgers University)

Abstract

This paper investigates how the feasibility of migration affects governments' optimal fiscal policies. We assume that households migrate towards economies where their welfare is higher, governments choose taxes and public expenditures to maximize a weighted sum of the households' welfare, welfare is increasing in public expenditures, and only distortionary labor income taxes are available. In isolated economies, the optimal fiscal policy implies that some households are net fiscal contributors, while other households are net fiscal beneficiaries. When households can migrate, however, governments compete for the households which are net fiscal contributors, and modify the fiscal policy in their favor, lowering their taxes and net fiscal contribution, and increasing their welfare. The magnitude of the effect increases with the sensitivity of migration to welfare. In the limiting case of free mobility, all households are zero net fiscal contributors.

Suggested Citation

  • Filippo Occhino, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal Policy When Migration is Feasible," Departmental Working Papers 200507, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200507
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kjetil Storesletten, 2000. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy through Immigration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 300-323, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
    4. Honkapohja, Seppo & Turunen-Red, Arja H., 2004. "Gains and losses from tax competition with migration," Working Papers 2004-01, University of New Orleans, Department of Economics and Finance.
    5. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
    6. Myers, Gordon M., 1990. "Optimality, free mobility, and the regional authority in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 107-121, October.
    7. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-774, September.
    8. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal fiscal policy; Ramsey equilibrium; Migration; Fiscal competition; Mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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