The optimum quantity of debt
We find that the welfare gains to being at the optimum quantity of debt rather than the current U.S. level are small, and, therefore, concerns regarding the high level of debt in the U.S. economy may be misplaced. This finding is based on a model of a large number of infinitely-lived households whose saving behavior is influenced by precautionary saving motives and borrowing constraints. This model incorporates a different role for government debt than is found in standard models, and it captures different cost-benefit trade-offs. On the benefit side, government debt enhances the liquidity of ...
Social insurance and taxation under sequential majority voting and utilitarian regimes
It is often argued that with a positively skewed income distribution (median less than mean) majority voting would result in higher tax rates than maximizing average welfare and, hence, lower aggregate savings. We reexamine this view in a capital accumulation model, in which distorting redistributive taxes provide insurance against idiosyncratic shocks and income distributions evolve endogenously. We find small differences of either sign between the tax rates set by a majority voting and a utilitarian government, for reasonable parametric specifications, despite the fact that model ...
Comments on Farmer and Guo's \\"the econometrics of indeterminacy: an applied study.\\"
I argue that Farmer and Guo's one-sector real business cycle model with indeterminacy and sunspots fails empirically and that its failure is inherent in the logic of the model taken together with some simple labor market facts.
Transaction services, inflation, and welfare
This paper is motivated by empirical observations on the comovements of currency velocity, inflation, and the relative size of the credit services sector. We document these comovements and incorporate into a monetary growth model a credit services sector that provides services that help people economize on money. Our model makes two new contributions. First, we show that direct evidence on the appropriately defined credit service sector for the United States is consistent with the welfare cost measured using an estimated money demand schedule. Second, we provide welfare cost of inflation ...
Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting
For a wide class of dynamic models, Chamley (1986) has shown that the optimal capital income tax rate is zero in the long run. Lucas (1990) has argued that for the U.S. economy there is a significant welfare gain from switching to this policy. We show that for the Bewley (1986) class of models with heterogeneous agents and incomplete markets (due to uninsured idiosyncratic shocks), and borrowing constraints the optimal tax rate on capital income is positive even in the long run. Quantitative analysis of a parametric version of such a model suggests that one cannot dismiss the possibility that ...
Nonmonetary steady states in stationary overlapping generations models with long lived agents and discounting: multiplicity, optimality, and consumption smoothing
We construct a sequence of pure exchange, stationary OLG economies in which generations have longer and longer life spans and all agents maximize a discounted sum of utilities with a fixed, positive, and common discount rate. Period utility functions and endowment patterns are subject to mild restrictions and within generation heterogeneity is permitted. We show that: (i) Every sequence of equilibrium interest rates converges to the discount rate. (ii) Eventually every nonmonetary steady state is optimal and a monetary steady state will never exist. (iii) For any agent consumption at any ...
The output, employment, and interest rate effects of government consumption
This paper investigates the impact on aggregate variables of changes in government consumption in the context of a stochastic, neoclassical growth model. We show, theoretically, that the impact on output and employment of a persistent change in government consumption exceeds that of temporary change. We also show that, in principle, there can be an analog to the Keynesian multiplier in the neoclassical growth model. Finally, in an empirically plausible version of the model, we show that the interest rate impact of a persistent government consumption shock exceeds that of a temporary one. Our ...
Banking panics, information, and rational expectations equilibrium
This paper shows that bank runs can be modeled as an equilibrium phenomenon. We demonstrate that some aspects of the intuitive ?story? that bank runs start with fears of insolvency of banks can be rigorously modeled. If individuals observe long ?lines? at the bank, they correctly infer that there is a possibility that the bank is about to fail and precipitate a bank run. However, bank runs occur even when no one has any adverse information. Extra market constraints such as suspension of convertibility can prevent bank runs and result in superior allocations.
Interpreting monetary stabilization in a growth model with credit goods production
This paper is motivated by observations concerning the size of the banking sector and the growth rate of the economy before and after successful stabilizations of high inflations. The facts suggest that the relative size of the banking sector increases during a period of accelerating inflation and decreases immediately following a successful monetary stabilization. Furthermore, the GDP growth rate is lower during the high inflation period than after stabilization. The goal of this paper is to develop a monetary growth model which is qualitatively consistent with these observations. The model ...