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Pre-announced optimal tax reform


  • Paul Klein

    (Institute for international economic studies, Stockholm University)

  • David Domeij

    (Department of Economics, Northwestern University)


Optimal tax policies in dynamic models have unappealing features. In particular, optimal tax reform typically involves a large initial accumulation of government assets which is responsible for a large part of the welfare gains from optimal tax reform. In this paper, we investigate the robustness of these findings by studying optimal tax policy in a standard growth model when a reform has to be announced in advance of its implementation. We find that this requirement leads to an optimal solution which is considerably more reasonable than optimal tax reforms studied previously. Using numerical calculations, we find that the optimal pre-announced tax reform involves only a small initial accumulation of government assets. We also find that the welfare gains from optimal tax reform are reduced by no more than a third when the government is required to pre-announce reform about 14 years in advance, and that this reduction is mainly due to the delay itself rather than the effect of pre-announcement on the character of the optimal tax reform. This leaves us with a welfare gain corresponding to an increase in consumption of about 1 percent from a tax reform with reasonable properties.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Klein & David Domeij, 1998. "Pre-announced optimal tax reform," Macroeconomics 9804002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9804002 Note: Type of Document - zipped pdf and ps files; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 20 + 9; figures: 9 of them is separate ps files

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexei Krouglov, 1997. "Mathematical model of simple business fluctuations," Macroeconomics 9706009, EconWPA, revised 26 Jun 1997.
    2. Alexei Krouglov, 1997. "Mathematical Description of Business Fluctuations," Macroeconomics 9710002, EconWPA.
    3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "How Far Are We From The Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-023, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Mathias Trabandt, 2006. "Optimal Pre-Announced Tax Reforms Under Valuable And Productive Government Spending," 2006 Meeting Papers 668, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Gasteiger, Emanuel & Zhang, Shoujian, 2014. "Anticipation, learning and welfare: the case of distortionary taxation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 113-126.
    4. Baltasar Manzano & Jesús Ruiz, 2004. "Política fiscal óptima: el estado de la cuestión," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(1), pages 5-41, January.
    5. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2011. "The Laffer curve revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 305-327.
    6. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2001. "On optimal non-linear taxation and public good provision in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 485-501, March.
    7. Dominguez, Begona, 2007. "On the time-consistency of optimal capital taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 686-705, April.
    8. Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2010. "Anticipated tax reforms and temporary tax cuts: A general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2141-2158, October.
    9. Ambler, Steve, 1999. "Les modèles à agent représentatif et la politique de taxation optimale," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(4), pages 539-557, décembre.

    More about this item


    optimal taxation; growth model; implementation lags;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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