Government investment and the European stability and growth pact
The authors analyze whether it makes sense to treat public investment spending differently from other government spending when applying the deficit constraints mandated within the single European currency area. Given the low rates of population growth, mobility, and mortality in European countries, they find that excluding public investment from the computation of the deficit ceiling has only moderate implications for the current generations? spending choices. They also show that excluding net investment yields better outcomes than excluding gross investment.
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 ...
On the relationship between mobility, population growth, and capital spending in the United States
In this paper, we assess the empirical relationship between population growth, mobility, and state-level capital spending in the United States. To evaluate the magnitude of the coefficients, we introduce an explicit, quantitative political-economy model of government spending determination, where mobility and population growth generate departures from Ricardian equivalence. Our estimates find strong responses in the level of capital provision per capita to these demographic movements; in fact, the resulting coefficients are stronger than the model delivers. Regression coefficients on ...
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.
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.
Forecasting inflation and the Great Recession
This article shows how the recovery of inflation in 2009-10 occurred precisely at the only time (since 1985) the models would predict disinflation, i.e., inflation went up when the models said it should go down.
Forward Guidance: Communication, Commitment, or Both?
A policy of forward guidance has been suggested either as a form of commitment ("Odyssean") or as a way of conveying information to the public ("Delphic"). I analyze the strategic interaction between households and the central bank as a game in which the central bank can send messages to the public independently of its actions. In the absence of private information, the set of equilibrium payoffs is independent of the announcements of the central bank: forward guidance as a pure commitment mechanism is a redundant policy instrument. When private information is present, central bank ...
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.
A game-theoretic view of the fiscal theory of the price level
The goal of this paper is to probe the validity of the fiscal theory of the price level by modeling explicitly the market structure in which households and the governments make their decisions. I describe the economy as a game, and I am thus able to state precisely the consequences of actions that are out of the equilibrium path. I show that there exist government strategies that lead to a version of the fiscal theory, in which the price level is determined by fiscal variables alone. However, these strategies are more complex than the simple budgetary rules usually associated with the fiscal ...
Shotgun Wedding: Fiscal and Monetary Policy
This paper describes interactions between monetary and fiscal policies that affect equilibrium price levels and interest rates by critically surveying theories about (a) optimal anticipated inflation, (b) optimal unanticipated inflation, and (c) conditions that secure a “nominal anchor” in the sense of a unique price level path. We contrast incomplete theories whose inputs are budget-feasible sequences of government issued bonds and money with complete theories whose inputs are bond-money strategies described as sequences of functions that map time t histories into time t government ...