Political economy of taxation in an overlapping-generations economy
This paper builds a simple but complete model of a political system to analyze the effects of intergenerational conflicts on capital and labor income tax rates, transfers, and government spending. I show how the different nature of tax liabilities for the young and the old can explain why the old receive large gross lump-sum transfers through social security, while the young receive little or none. I also show that there is a natural link between the size of the government as a provider of public goods and the magnitude of transfers that the same government will implement.
Politics and efficiency of separating capital and ordinary Government budgets
We analyze the democratic politics and competitive economics of a ?golden rule? that separates capital and ordinary account budgets and allows a government to issue debt to finance only capital items. Many national governments followed this rule in the 18th and 19th centuries and most U.S. states do today. We study an economy with a growing population of overlapping generations of long-lived but mortal agents. Each period, majorities choose durable and nondurable public goods. In a special limiting case with demographics that make Ricardian equivalence prevail, the golden rule does nothing to ...
Speculative runs on interest rate pegs the frictionless case
In this paper we show that interest rate rules lead to multiple equilibria when the central bank faces a limit to its ability to print money, or when private agents are limited in the amount of bonds that can be pledged to the central bank in exchange for money. Some of the equilibria are familiar and common to the environments where limits to money growth are not considered. However, new equilibria emerge, where money growth and inflation are higher. These equilibria involve a run on the central bank's interest target: households borrow as much as possible from the central bank, and the ...
The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level in a World of Low Interest Rates
A central equation for the fiscal theory of the price level (FTPL) is the government budget constraint (or "government valuation equation"), which equates the real value of government debt to the present value of fiscal surpluses. In the past decade, the governments of most developed economies have paid very low interest rates, and there are many other periods in the past in which this has been the case. In this paper, we revisit the implications of the FTPL in a world where the rate of return on government debt may be below the growth rate of the economy, considering different sources for ...
The Interplay Between Financial Conditions and Monetary Policy Shocks
We study the interplay between monetary policy and financial conditions shocks. Such shocks have a significant and similar impact on the real economy, though with different degrees of persistence. The systematic fed funds rate response to a financial shock contributes to bringing the economy back towards trend, but a zero lower bound on policy rates can prevent this from happening, with a significant cost in terms of output and investment. In a retrospective analysis of the U.S. economy over the past 20 years, we decompose the realization of economic variables into the contributions of ...
Public investment and budget rules for state vs. local governments
Across different layers of the U.S. government there are surprisingly large differences in institutional provisions that impose fiscal discipline, such as constitutionally mandated deficit or debt limits, or specific tax bases. In this paper we develop a framework that can be used to quantitatively assess their costs and benefits. The model features both endogenous and exogenous mobility across jurisdictions, so we can evaluate whether the different degree of mobility at the local vs. national level can justify different institutional restrictions. In preliminary results, we show that pure ...
Credit crunches and credit allocation in a model of entrepreneurship
We study the effects of credit shocks in a model with heterogeneous entrepreneurs, financing constraints, and a realistic firm size distribution. As entrepreneurial firms can grow only slowly and rely heavily on retained earnings to expand the size of their business in this set-up, we show that, by reducing entrepreneurial firm size and earnings, negative shocks have a very persistent effect on real activity. In determining the speed of recovery from an adverse economic shock, the most important factor is the extent to which the shock erodes entrepreneurial wealth.
Redistribution, taxes, and the median voter
We study a simple model of production, accumulation, and redistribution, where agents are heterogeneous in their initial wealth, and a sequence of redistributive tax rates is voted upon. Though the policy is infinite-dimensional, we prove that a median voter theorem holds if households have identical, Gorman aggregable preferences; furthermore, the tax policy preferred by the median voter has the ?bang- bang? property.
Fiscal consequences of paying interest on reserves
We review the role of the central bank's (CB) balance sheet in a textbook monetary model, and explore what changes if the central bank is allowed to pay interest on its liabilities. When the central bank cannot pay interest, away from the zero lower bound its (real) balance sheet is limited by the demand for money. Furthermore, if securities are not marked to market and the central bank holds its bonds to maturity, it is impossible for the central bank to make losses, and it always obtains profits from being a monopoly provider of money. When the option of paying interest on liabilities is ...
This paper considers an optimal taxation environment where household income is private information, and the government randomly audits and punishes households found to be underreporting. We prove that the optimal mechanism derived using standard mechanism design techniques has a bad equilibrium (a tax riot) where households underreport their incomes, precisely because other households are expected to do so as well. We then consider three alternative approaches to designing a tax scheme when one is worried about bad equilibria.